PEBBLE BEACH — Maverick McNealy, the former Stanford standout, had an unusual one-stroke penalty on the fifth hole in Saturday’s third of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
The country’s top-ranked amateur a few years ago was 3 under after four holes and moved close to the top of the leaderboard. But McNealy pulled his tee shot left on the fifth hole.
As he approached his next shot with a wedge, his ball moved forward into a less preferred lie.
After talking a length with a rules official, McNealy was assessed a one-stroke penalty.
McNealy, who tied for fifth in his AT&T debut last year, finished with a 69 and trails leader Jordan Spieth in a group at 10-under-par 206.
“We made the right call and we have the best rules staff in golf, but it was an unfortunate situation,” McNealy said. “I flew it over the green with my pitching wedge and it embedded. I took a drop, relief from the embed and when the ball landed, it popped back out of where I dropped it
“It was kind of perched on the back of that little hole it made. And when I looked at it, as I addressed the ball I was being very careful, because I thought it was in a very precarious spot, but it fell forward back into that hole and ended up being a one-shot penalty.”
McNealy’s ruling took considerable time. Even via a videotape replay, it was hard to determine.
“They looked at the tape and the video and it was just too close to when I put my club down behind the ball to say that for sure I didn’t cause it to move.
“I felt like I was being very careful and I thought I did everything right, but unfortunately I may have caused it to move and it’s a one-shot penalty.”
Odds and ends
Francesco Molinari won’t forget his debut at the event, including for one dubious moment on the first tee. The Italian veteran who won the 2018 British Open, shanked his tee shot. It traveled about 70 yards and not past the forward tee box.
Molinari, 38, who has three PGA Tour titles and five international victories, recovered for a bogey and finished with a 76 and is 1 under par.
Kevin Streelman, the runner-up to champion Nick Taylor last year, shot a 5-under 67, the day’s low round. He moved into a tied for 13th among three players at 8-under.
Eight players carded the high rounds of the third round, including Molinari, with 4-over 76s.
Defending titlist Nick Taylor shot an even-par 72 and is tied for 34th at 4-under among 10 players in the 65-player field.
Contributed by local news sources