Daily Wrap-up: AT&T Pebble Beach Nat'l Pro-Am, Round 1

February 09, 2012
Staff and wire reports

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Dustin Johnson took revenge on the hole that cost him so badly two years earlier by firing an eagle at the third Thursday, setting up a round of 9-under 63 that gave a share of the lead in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Round 1 storylines
SOLID OPENER:: Tiger Woods shot a 68 at Spyglass Hill, and PGATOUR.COM's Brian Wacker followed every shot. Get a full view of his first round of the 2012 PGA TOUR season. Full coverage
WHAT COULDA BEEN:: Woods' 68 was one of the better rounds Thursday at Spyglass Hill, but Woods left the course wondering how many shots he left on the table after a frustrating day with his short irons. Column
MR. 28: No one had broke 30 on the back nine in TOUR competition at Pebble Beach before -- and Ken Duke did one better. Story
WATNEY'S COMEBACK: Nick Watney missed the WM Phoenix Open last week due to illless. His 66 on Thursday at Spyglass showed that he's ready to begin anew at Pebble Beach. Story

Johnson shared the lead with Charlie Wi, who flirted with a round of 59 before finishing with a 9-under 61 at Monterey Peninsula in the three-course event, and former U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee, who matched Johnson's 63 at Pebble Beach.

Tiger Woods was five shots to par off the lead after a 4-under 68 at Spyglass Hill in his 2012 PGA TOUR debut. It was fourth-best score on that course.

Johnson is a two-time winner of this event and in 2010 he held a three-shot lead in the U.S. Open on the same course until he carded an 82 in the final round. On the third hole of that fateful round, he drove into the bushes for a lost ball and a double bogey.

On Thursday, he smashed a driver nearly 340 yards over the trees to just short of the green, then pitched in from 41 yards for an eagle.

Even now, he still thinks about that tee shot in the U.S. Open. Walking off the tee, he said to caddie Bobby Brown, "I could have used that in the U.S. Open."

"Walking off that hole, I told Bob, 'This hole owes me a few more than just that one.'"

Meanwhile, Wi had a strong chance of carding a 59 without ever knowing it. He was 8 under after a tap-in birdie on the 13th hole, and needed only three birdies in the last five holes to go below 60. Trouble is, he had no idea the Shore Course was a par 70. He made one more birdie and had a 9-under 61.

"I was looking at the scorecard like, `What's the par here?' I did not know it was a par 70," Wi said. "That 59 never crossed my mind. Not once."

Lee holed a bunker shot for eagle at No. 2 and holed out from the 11th fairway with a wedge for another eagle to take a share of the lead.

Johnson overpowered the par 5s at Pebble Beach, the secret to playing that course well. He had a 6-iron for his second shot at the par-5 second for an easy birdie, holed a 65-foot eagle putt on the sixth hole, got up and down from a bunker on the 14th for birdie, then cringed when his 40-foot eagle attempt on the 18th just turned away.

"I thought it was going in," Johnson said. "I was laughing. I made plenty of putts today."

Woods made his share, too.

He opened with consecutive birdies, stuffing his approach on No. 10 and two-putting for birdie on the par-5 11th. He also holed a downhill, 8-foot birdie putt on the 17th that was good enough to elicit a small fist pump, and from behind the par-5 opening hole, hit a flop shot to 7 feet and made that.

He made two bogeys and played the par 5s in 3 under.

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"I don't know if it's a good sign or a bad sign," Woods said about his 68. "With the scores the way they are, I thought I could have it lower than I did. The guys are just tearing this place apart with no wind. I'm not too far away from posting a good number out here."

His partner, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, contributed pars on the holes where Woods made bogey, and Romo had a birdie on the par-5 14th when Woods missed the fairway and had to settle for par. As a team, they were tied for 25th.

Romo gets to play a forward tee, but he doesn't get any shots with a scratch handicap.

Phil Mickelson (2-under 70) always entertains at No. 4 at Spyglass, a tee shot that gives him so much stress each year. He is determined to hit driver, and did again Thursday, this time relieved to at least be able to find it. And while he missed a 7-foot birdie putt after a splendid flop out of deep rough that ran 100 feet across the green, Mickelson was glad the hole was behind him.

"The greens were perfect," Mickelson said. "They rolled so good, and that's why it was disappointing to let some of those go. I've been putting really well lately, and I expected to make some of those. Shot a couple under par, but it could have been a lot better."

Ken Duke shot a 28 on the back nine at Pebble Beach and was at 8-under 64, along with Brian Harman. Nick Watney and Kevin Na each had a 6-under 66, the lowest score from Spyglass.

About the leaders
- Charlie Wi set the tournament course record with a 9-under-par 61 at Monterey Peninsula C.C. The previous low at MPCC was 62 by Jeff Maggert in 2011. Wis front-nine of 28 set the front-nine record, besting 30 by Brian Gay (2010) and D.J. Trahan (2010).
- Wi's round was his third career 61 on TOUR, most recently in the third round of the 2009 Humana Challenge.
- Wi matched the low round of 2012 carded by Ryan Moore (PGA West/Nicklaus Course/Humana Challenge/Round 2) and Robert Garrigus (PGA West/Nicklaus Course/Humana Challenge/Round 3).
- On the strength of two eagles (Nos. 2 and 11) at Pebble Beach, 21-year-old Danny Lee recorded a career-low round of 9-under-par 63.
- The 2009 and 2010 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am winner Dustin Johnson turned in a 9-under-par 63 at Pebble Beach on Thursday as he begins his bid to join four players with three or more victories at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am: Mark O'Meara (5), Jack Nicklaus (3), Johnny Miller (3) and Phil Mickelson (3).
- The round of 63 at Pebble Beach GL was Johnsons low round at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He shot 64 at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill en route to victory in 2010. The 63 was one off his career low, a 62 in the third round of the 2009 Valero Texas Open.
- Ken Duke set the Pebble Beach back-nine record with an 8-under-par 28 en route to an 8-under-par 64. The previous low was 30 by Dan Pohl in the final round of the 1980 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The 28 matched the low 9 holes of 2012 on TOUR, posted by Toshinori Muto in the second round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

The conditions were so good that more than half the field broke par no matter where they were playing.