PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The chips were roughly from the same spot, right behind the green at Pebble Beach’s seventh hole, one of golf’s most famous par 3s. Ted Potter Jr. was leading his playing partner Dustin Johnson by one stroke.
The chip-off turned out to be a pivotal moment in Sunday’s final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Johnson went first, his chip settling 5-1/2 feet past the pin. Potter was next – and his putt found the bottom of the cup, extending his lead to two shots.
“I had seen how his landed and how his rolled out, so I knew it was a little firmer and a little faster that we both thought, I guess,” Potter said of the two chips. “So I definitely tried to get a little bit higher with some more spin, but it still landed pretty firm.
“For it to hit the hole was definitely pleasing there.”
A hole later, Johnson suffered a bogey at the par-4 after finding the greenside bunker to fall three back. Ultimately, that would be Potter’s margin of victory. The expected rally from Johnson never materialized.
“Just didn't have it,” said Johnson, the world’s top-ranked player. “I felt like I hit, even when I hit some really good shots it ended up in some terrible spots.
“I felt like I hit a great shot into 8 and ended up making bogey. It was just kind of one of those days. It felt like all day I was in between clubs, so I was either trying to hit one hard or take something off of one and it just never -- it just felt like all day just, it just did never really got in a rhythm out there.”
Johnson had previously won twice at Pebble Beach, but even his final rounds then weren’t not memorable. In fact, one never happened, as his 2009 win was reduced to 54 holes due to bad weather. His win in 2010 came despite shooting 74 in the final round.
Of the top 25 players in the final leaderboard, Johnson’s even-par 72 was higher than all but two players.
“I shot 2-under here in 36 holes, which is not too good, especially as well as I feel like I'm playing,” said Johnson, who shot a 70 at Pebble Beach on Saturday. “But all in all, still a good week. T-2, I guess, is not terrible, but yeah, I would like to have put a little bit more pressure on Ted.”
What a wild par for Jason Day at the par-5 18th. Needing an eagle to have any hope, his second shot with driver off the deck landed on the beach below the small cliff left of the green. He had two choices: “I said I'm either going to play right now and man up and play right now or head back another 200 yards and play from there and I didn't want to do that. So I just went up and I guessed on the line.” He climbed down to the ball and hit a third shot that landed in the bunker on the other side – and then got up and down, rolling in a 17-footer. “Holing that putt was nice. I wanted to really kind of finish strong.”
Phil Mickelson was hoping to make some noise but after a bogey on the par-3 fifth, he was six shots off the lead. He then proceeded to play bogey-free the rest of the way, notching five birdies – including three in his last five holes. Like Day, he was seeking an eagle at 18 but found the bunker and settled for par. “It was nice to make some birdies coming down the stretch,” said the four-time champ. “It’s a little disappointing it wasn’t enough, but it’s another great week here at Pebble Beach.”
Phil Mickelson's flop shot magic at AT&T Pebble Beach
A week ago, Chez Reavie lost in a playoff to Gary Woodland at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This week, he played his way into another runner-up finish thanks to five birdies on his front nine. “I’ve been hitting the ball well for awhile and just haven’t quite been piecing it together,” Reavie said. “I think I figured out a way to piece it together.”
After three straight birdies midway in his front nine, defending champ Jordan Spieth was on the move. But he couldn’t sustain the momentum. He gave back all three shots and didn’t make another birdie until the 18th, settling for a 71 and a tie for 20th. “My putting made tremendous progress this week,” he said. “I feel great about it going forward.”
Kevin Streelman and his amateur partner, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, won the team portion of the event, leading wire to wire. Streelman finished at 13 under; as a team (with Fitzgerald’s 13 handicap), they finished at 41 under to win by 7 shots. “He struggles off the tee a little bit – that’s where his 13 comes from,” Streelman said of his partner. “… But from his amateur tees, he can hit his 3- and 4-iron and he’s great from inside of 150. He’s a great putter. So he just played awesome.” Fitzgerald called it one of his top sports achievements “because I’m out of my comfort zone. This is not like my profession. This is a passion of mine. I’m not great by any stretch of the imagination but it was wonderful to be able to participate in it.”
QUOTEABLESI'm so happy right now to get it done today,
especially against the world No. 1, playing with him today. And it was
definitely, the win here at Pebble is just unbelievable. It's beautiful.”I know Phil (Mickelson’s) walked down there
before and slipped on his bum, so I didn’t want to do thatIt was just one of those days where nothing went
CALL OF THE DAY
Low round – Scott Stallings, Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins each shot 6-under 66.
Longest drive – Dustin Johnson’s 376-yard tee shot on the 10th hole. He made par on the hole
Longest putt – Jordan Spieth had a 54-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fifth hole; it was the middle birdie of a three-birdie stretch.
Jordan Spieth's 54-foot birdie putt at AT&T Pebble Beach
Hardest holes – Par-5 14th, which played to a stroke average of 5.320. There were just 13 birdies there Sunday against 22 bogeys, six double bogeys and one other.
Easiest holes – The par-5 2nd and the par-5 6th were the easiest, each playing to a stroke average of 4.467.