By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- For the second straight day, Phil Mickelson had trouble coaxing what could have been a good score into the house.
On Friday, he made three birdies on his first nine holes at Spyglass Hill but ended up shooting 71. The previous day on the par-70 Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Mickelson was 3 under through 10 holes but finished with a 69.
As a result, the defending champion will start the third round in a tie for 39th at 2 under, trailing by six strokes, which is the same margin he overcame a year ago on Sunday to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the fourth time
"I had a good round going here at Spyglass and I turned a 66 into a 71," Mickelson said. "Tomorrow, I've got to finish it off. I've got to finish off the round and see if I can put something in the mid-60s and get in it for Sunday.
"Gosh, it's so much fun having a chance to win here on Sunday."
Mickelson now gets to play his final two rounds at Pebble Beach where he knows he can go low. After all, the last time he teed it up on the storied links -- playing with none other than Tiger Woods -- Mickelson closed with a 64 on the way to the win.
""I've played Pebble Beach well in the past and there are some low scores out there," Mickelson said. "There's no reason why I shouldn't shoot one tomorrow."
Mickelson said those three bogeys in a four-hole stretch were "nothing huge." His driver wasn't obedient as it has been on Friday -- he only hit one fairway on the front nine and just six for the day -- but the putter was working at its best of the week.
"I hit them solid and I hit them on my line and they went over the lip and didn't go in," Mickelson, who used 29, said. "I didn't feel bad. I wasn't limping them up there. I was aggressive. They all had chances. They all had good pace and they all were online but didn't quite get them in."
Mickelson, who shot 28 under to win last week's Waste Management Phoenix Open, should get the best of the conditions at Pebble Beach on Saturday with his 11:11 a.m. ET tee time (8:11 a.m. PT). The weather will again be cool but blue skies and calm conditions are expected and could play right into his hands.
"If I play a good round tomorrow, and I feel like I'm not far off, I will hopefully put myself in position where a good round on Sunday can get the job done," Mickelson said.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Fredrik Jacobson is keeping his fingers crossed.
The bulging disks in his lower back that have sidelined Jacobson for the better part of the last five months aren't bothering him right now. The rest and rehab, ice and exercises appear to have done the trick.
"It's better at the moment, so that's good," Jacobson said. "That's the main thing."
The Swede was feeling even better after firing a 66 at Pebble Beach. The day's low round in relation to par moved Jacobson into a tie at 7 under, one stroke off the pace being set by Brandt Snedeker and Ted Potter Jr. through the first two rounds.
"I guess when you have not played for a while, you play with not really any expectations apart from just really looking forward to get going again and to try to get as many rounds under my belt as possible and as much practice as I can," Jacobson said. " That's really been my only focus this week. ... If I can play some good golf along the way, that's great."
Jacobson did just that on Pebble Beach's scenic back nine, his first of the day, as he closed with four straight birdies and five in a six-hole stretch. He started with a 10-footer at the 13th hole, then buried putts of 6 and 7 feet, 18 inches and 8 feet to shoot 31.
Jacobson has only played once since missing the cut in Las Vegas last October. That's when the pain was at its worst, and the Swede knew it was time to hang things up for awhile.
"Everybody has it after you're playing for 20 years or (so) on TOUR," Jacobson said. " But it's just a matter of whether (the bulging discs) affect you or not. I think you get irritated, it tends to come back; if you can stay fresh and healthy and strong for a while, you can keep it away. I don't think it's anything major at this stage.
"It was just aggravating for a while."
After Jacobson played the Franklin Templeton Shootout in December, the pain returned. He went to Sweden for the holidays and finally returned to the PGA TOUR last week where he shot 2 under but missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
"I might have played like six rounds in the last five months or something,," Jacobson said. "It has not been a lot. I've been trying to work on things, I worked on my putting like in the house, and I did that in Sweden indoors. I haven't been able to hit a lot of balls."
So far, so good this week at Pebble Beach, though.
"Nice to be back on TOUR again and to get some rounds under the belt and feel like I'm getting into a rhythm," Jacobson said
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- The 2013 season has already been an eventful one for Ted Potter Jr., who got engaged in Hawaii when he went to play in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions last month.
"Definitely, life's good," Potter said.
The proposal was typically low-key, just like the quiet Floridian.
"She knows me," Potter said with a sheepish grin. "I'm shy. It was more like, here, you want this?"
If Potter keeps playing like he has the first two rounds of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, he'll have something a little larger than a diamond to hand to his fiancee. He's currently tied for the lead with Brandt Snedeker at 8 under, one stroke ahead of the field, after shooting a second-straight 67 this time at Monterey Peninsula
Potter picked up his first PGA TOUR victory at The Greenbrier Classic last year, shooting consecutive 64s on the weekend to overtake Webb Simpson and eventually beat Troy Kelly on the third playoff hole. He had missed five straight cuts prior to the victory at TPC Old White.
"I think it's just golf," Potter said. "It's just a funny game like that. Some weeks you play really well and you get the right kicks and everything goes well. And then there's weeks you can still hit the ball well and get the bad kicks. It just came around that week.
The win remains Potter's only top-10 finish -- but he could make it 2-for-2 this weekend. He said the win gave him much-needed confidence after struggling to get comfortable in his rookie year on TOUR.
"I (had) never played a lot of the courses out here," Potter explained. "And the surroundings, too. I mean, I'm not used to being in front of a camera too often on min- tours, so definitely different that way, but trying to get used to that."
The cameras will be rolling on the weekend, too. But Potter plays at Spyglass Hill so he can stay out of the spotlight a bit while the celebrity rotation will take center stage at Pebble Beach.
"Hoping it dries out because I'm not a long hitter and it's a pretty tough course" Potter said. "It's a little longer than the other two and in general, I guess the scores are usually higher there. So I've definitely got my work cut out for tomorrow and hopefully stay on top where I have a chance to go into Sunday at Pebble."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH Calif. -- Brandt Snedeker has done just about everything right this year. Everything except win, that is.
And the way Snedeker is playing at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, this just might be the week he gets over that hump after runner-up finishes each of the last two tournaments.
Snedeker, who won the FedExCup last year and currently leads the standings again, fired a bogey-free 68 at Spyglass Hills that pulled him into a tie for the lead at 8 under with Ted Potter, Jr. The Vandy grad made a trio of 3-footers for birdies on Friday and added another from 5 feet.
"I didn't make a lot of putts today but look forward to going into the weekend, confidence is very high, and after last week, feel like my game is where I want it to be and two good days to go, should be a lot of fun," Snedeker said.
The men who have beaten Snedeker the last two weeks are a current and future World Golf Hall of Famer in Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, playing at their absolute best. Snedeker certainly hasn't laid down, either -- shooting a pair of 69s in the final two rounds at the Farmers Insurance Open and consecutive 65s last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
"I take nothing but positives away from the way I've played the weekend the last couple events," Snedeker said. "I know I'll have a lot of fun this weekend, so just try to recreate that. That's how you win out here; you keep putting yourself in position, and the more times you do, that the more success you're going to have."
Friday's round of 4 under on what is traditionally the toughest course in the rotation was Snedeker's 16th under par in 17 attempts this season. He's a cumulative 71 under for the year.
Snedeker is headed for Pebble Beach on Saturday and barring a catastrophe that would have him miss the 54-hole cut, the affable 32-year-old will be playing there in Sunday's finale, as well. He thinks seeing the course two days in a row is a plus for those like him in the celebrity rotation.
"The greens, we'll know how they are bouncing," Snedeker said. "Every day it's been different, because Monterey Peninsula, you play it early in the week and it was different yesterday than I remember playing it; Spyglass I played earlier in the week and it was super firm and today it was softer.
"So I think playing Pebble back to back days is definitely an advantage."
Snedeker also thinks he's done a good job on staying focused and conserving energy -- mentally and physically -- after contending each of the last two weeks.
"I realize I'm playing really well and not try to do anything too stupid this week and not wear myself out early in the week, and be patient and keep doing the small stuff I did last week really well," Snedeker said. "I'm doing a better job this week of making my way around the golf courses and not putting myself in bad spots and getting out of tough situations very quickly.
"It's been real promising this week the way I've taken that momentum from last week into this one.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Fredrik Jacobson put on a putting display at Pebble Beach, as he one-putted 11 times in Friday's second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Starting on the 10th hole, Jacobson had one-putt pars on the first two holes before two-putting for a 3 at the 12th. He then birdied the 13th, chipped in for par at the 14th and one-putted the next five holes. Jacobson had 10 putts on the first 10 holes. He finished with 23 putts while shooting a 66. Jacobson credited a new putter, an Odyssey Versa, for helping his alignment.
2-iron: The ninth hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links has been a fierce par 4 through the years. It measured 472 yards on Friday and played downwind. Charlie Beljan felt strong enough to hit an iron off the tee. He rifled a 2-iron 259 yards, figuring a wood could have run through the fairway at 330 yards. The strategy was correct but the execution was faulty. Beljan missed the fairway and made bogey.
Forecast: Weather predictions were thankfully incorrect on Friday. Morning rain and cold temperatures promised a terrible day but the rain stopped before 10 a.m. and the greens retained most of their firmness. Golf balls still ran out on the putting surfaces. A 15 mph wind made for a very chilly day with temperatures in the 40s, but it was not nearly as bad as the forecast. The weather this weekend calls for sunny skies with highs in the 50s. The golf course has a chance to play fast if that forecast is accurate.
Weighty: Matt Every did not spend the holidays loading up on Christmas cookies. He was diligent in an exercise program and lost weight. It turns out he lost too much weight. Every found it difficult to play at a lighter weight and is trying to regain pounds. He is not the first player to have lost weight and struggled. Craig Stadler, Carl Pettersson and Tim Herron all had similar results.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Brandt Snedeker seems to be a fixture at the top of leaderboards these days and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is no exception.
The reigning FedExCup champ and current points leader fired a bogey-free 68 at Spyglass Hill on Friday that left him tied with Ted Potter Jr. at 8 under. A scoring error on-site had Snedeker originally making a double bogey at the 11th hole but it was changed to a par when he signed his scorecard.
Snedeker has finished second the last two weeks and also was third to open his season in Maui.
"I played really solid today," Snedeker said. "I didn't really make any mistakes which was nice and made some key par putts but four birdies, no bogeys. .. I didn't make a lot of putts today but look forward to going into the weekend, confidence is very high, and after last week, feel like my game is where I want it to be and two good days to go, should be a lot of fun."
Potter, who played Monterey Peninsula, opened his round by draining a 50-footer for eagle on the 10th hole at the Shore Course on the way to a 67. He gave two shots back by the time he reached the turn but Potter got back on track with four birdies on the front nine.
Potter would have had sole possession of the lead had it not been for a three-putt at No. 9.
"It was a good day today," Potter said. "... Felt good all day. Just glad the weather cleared up. ... A little disappointing finish on the last there with a 3 putt, but all in all, a good day."
Fredrik Jacobson rode a 66 at Pebble Beach, which was the day's low round, into a tie for third at 7 under. John Merrick shot 67 and Hunter Mahan a 69 at the Shore Course to finish at 7 under, as well, while Patrick Reed had a 69 at Pebble Beach to join them.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson couldn't get untracked at Spyglass Hill, making birdie on his 17th hole of the day to shoot 71. He had made three birdies on the back nine, his first of the day, to climb the leaderboard but gave those back with bogeys at Nos. 2, 4 and 5.
Mickelson is bidding to win consecutive events for the third time in his career.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Ted Potter probably had an inkling Friday would be a good day when he eagled the 10th hole at Monterey Peninsula Country Club with his third shot of the round.
Even so, the second-year TOUR pro didn't really get going things going until his final nine holes after giving those two early strokes gained back with bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15. That 31 on the front side, though, moved Potter into a one-stroke lead at 8 under when he polished off that 67.
Potter only had one top-10 in his rookie season -- but it was a big one when he won the 2012 Greenbrier Classic. He's coming off his best finish in three starts this year, a tie for 24th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Fredrik Jacobsen had the low round of the day when he finished, though. The 66 he shot at Pebble Beach propelled the Swede to 7 under and tied wih John Merrick, Nick O'Hern and Hunter Mahan. All three are playing their final nine holes at Monterey Peninsula.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Finding Nemo won’t be very difficult this weekend -- just look to the northeast and the massive snowstorm that will largely shut the area down this weekend.
Friday’s forecast for the Monterrey Peninsula isn’t all that much better with temperatures barely reaching 50 on what’s supposed to be a wet, gray day along 17-mile drive. Fear not, though: If you’re looking for a scenic escape, none is better than traditional aerials of golf’s most scenic landscape this weekend at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Here are five things to look for, whether you’re under a snow blanket or not:
1. Phil, Phil, Phil. We can’t get our fill of Phil Mickelson. Can he repeat at Pebble Beach? It’s an uphill climb but he owns the place with eight top 10s in 17 starts, including four wins. The most memorable of those might have come last year, when he shot a final-round 64 to dust playing partner Tiger Woods by 11 shots. The way he’s hitting his new driver, I like his chances. I also like Hunter Mahan’s. He finished second there in 2011, is off to a strong start and has a similar affinity for the place.
2. Two veterans worth watching: Jim Furyk and Lee Westwood. Both are making their PGA TOUR season debut this week. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of rust there is to shake off. So far, Westwood, who recently relocated from England to Florida (and began his season in earnest with a tie for fifth in Dubai), doesn’t appear to have much. Furyk? He opened with a 75.
3. If there’s an appropriate place for James Hahn to break out the Gangnam Style dance (aside from Phoenix, of course), it’s this celebrity-laden event.
4. Football season is over but the joy of watching a few notable names from the NFL is not. Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo are both in the field and both carry a low handicap. Jim Harbaugh and Bill Belichick are also playing, meaning there’s a high-hoodie alert for the latter, especially with temps a little chillier than normal.
5. What’s an AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am without Bill Murray? If you haven’t seen his new look, it’s worth tuning into just for that. As one reader pointed out, the Mur-stache is a “hall-of-fame duster.”
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- The three players leading the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am right now are all playing Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
Hunter Mahan, Kevin Stadler and Matt Every are currently setting the pace at 7 under. Mahan is 1 under after seven holes while Stadler and Every have played four each, on opposite nines, in 4 under and 2 under, respectively.
The Shore Course was the most generous of the three in the rotation on Thursday -- with the par 70 playing to an average of 69.591. The other two are par-72 layouts with Pebble Beach clocking in at 71.615 and Spyglass Hill averaging 72.385.
Fredrik Jacobson has the best round of the day going. He's 5 under through 10 holes at Pebble Beach and has moved into a tie at 6 under with Seung-yul Noh, who is 1 under through three holes on the same course.
Overnight co-leader Russell Knox is 1 over after playing 11 holes at Spyglass Hill, tied with five others at 5 under -- including Patrick Cantlay. The 20-year-old former amateur sensation from UCLA is playing his third TOUR event on a sponsor's exemption and appears headed for his first made cut.
Brandt Snedeker, who leads the FedExCup is among a big group at 4 under, three strokes off the lead. He's played five holes at Spyglass in even par -- rebounding from a double bogey at the par-5 11th with bogeys at Nos. 12 and 14.
Defending champ Phil Mickelson, who won last week's Waste Management Phoenix Open, is also playing at Spyglass. He's 2 under through seven holes and has moved within four strokes of the lead.