AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Blast from the past, Spieth grabs lead

Peninsula Premier Admin

PEBBLE BEACH — Jordan Spieth in the lead of a golf tournament? Where has the time gone for the 27-year-old former phenom who had done so much only to equally quickly find mediocrity?

Playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am for the ninth time, Spieth moved into a one-stroke lead Friday with 5-under-par 67 at Spyglass Hills Golf Course.

After an opening-hole bogey (the 10th hole) Spieth accumulated six birdies, including four in his last six holes, en route to his 12-under 132 total.

Daniel Berger shot a 66 at Pebble Beach Golf Links and is second at 133. Henrik Norlander shot 70 at Pebble Beach and is third at 134.

Henrick Norlander tees off on the 15th hole at Spyglass Hill during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Friday. (David Royal/ Monterey Herald Correspondent)

For the second straight day, rain threatened but never arrived in the streamlined event absent of amateur and celebrity players and spectators. The first two rounds were held on Pebble Beach and Spyglass. The field was cut after Friday’s round from the original field of 156 to the top 65 scorers. The remainder of the tournament will be played at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

The second-round lead changed several times in sporadically windy conditions and with temperatures again never higher than the mid-50s.

Spieth birdied the eighth (his 17th hole) to move to 12 under and parred his concluding hole.

“I’m in a great position after the midway point,” said Spieth, who captured the tournament title in 2017, the ninth of his 11 career wins. “I feel a little bit improved off of last week, which was the goal this week, to just try and feel like I’m getting better each day.

“I haven’t made a ton of longer putts like it is to normally be in the lead, which is probably a really good sign. I’m keeping the ball in front of me and striking it nicely and a couple of mistakes here or there, other than that it was really clean.”

After missing the cut in four times in his first seven events this season, Spieth briefly held the lead at Waste Management Phoenix Open last week en route to consecutive 67s. It was his first made cut of 2021 and he eventually tied for fourth.

Spieth’s last win was the British Open in 2017. He hasn’t won in 77 tournaments.

“The forecast coming the next two days, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be that easy to get to 12-under for the next two rounds,” said Spieth. “Pebble’s going to be mean Pebble, it looks like, tomorrow and we look forward to that. I look forward to that challenge.

“It’s going to be fun to go out there and have to hit some kind of different level shots than when we played in the desert last week.”

Saturday’s forecast calls for rain, with a 70 percent prediction by 8 a.m. but only a 30 percent two hours later.

Phil Mickelson, vying for a record sixth AT&T title, missed the cut to bring a quick close to his 25th appearance in the event.

Bespectacled in oversized aviator sunglasses and his traditional black attire, Mickelson shot a second-round 80 after hitting two shots into the Pacific Ocean on the 18th hole and hitting into a bunker. He finished with a 9 and a round of 80 and was 8 over par in his last five holes.

Berger, also 27, a three-time PGA Tour winner including the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge, had an eagle, four birdies and a bogey.

“I think patience would probably best describe (the round),” he said. “I didn’t make a bunch of birdies in the middle of the round and then hung in there and toward the end rattled off a couple and got myself in a good position going into Saturday.”

Patrick Cantley, who led by two shots and a course record-tying 62 first round, is in a three-way tie for fourth after a 73 at Spyglass Hill. Cantlay is grouped at 9 under with Tom Lewis. who had 69 at Spyglass Hills, and Paul Casey, who had a 67 at Pebble Beach.

“I didn’t make very many putts, but hit a lot of good putts,” said Cantlay. “And the greens, like always, are just bumpy and wasn’t able to get many to go in. But all in all, I played pretty good today.”

Contributed by local news sources

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