AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM: Drier conditions lead to lower scores

February 10, 2017

PGA Golf

USA team member Jordan Spieth hits off of the 6th tee during day 3 of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota on October 2, 2016. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

By Jeremy Harness

PEBBLE BEACH – After a day of muddy footing and seemingly never-ending downpour on Thursday, the players who stepped onto the three courses Friday morning were glad to be able to put away their umbrellas for much of the day.

They still had to deal with the residual muddy conditions, but nonetheless, there was a resurgence of low scores at this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and even a little bit of sunshine that is expected to carry on through the weekend.

Also having more prominence was the presence of the familiar big names in the game of golf.

Forced to abandon the final two holes of his first round due to the rainy conditions Thursday afternoon, Jordan Spieth finished up his opening round Friday morning and then began his assault on Spyglass Hill, which is typically the toughest of the three-course rotation of Spyglass, Monterey Peninsula and Pebble Beach but has shown this week to be the easiest due to the large amount of trees that block the wind.

He started the day only one stroke back, but that quickly changed when he made four birdies on the front nine and added four more on the back nine against only one bogey to finish his second round at 10-under par and a tie for the lead.

“I putted a lot better today than I did yesterday, but the conditions were also totally different,” Spieth said after his score of 65 on Friday. “I’m feeling like I’ve been striking it well, and I’ve been trying to do a lot of work with the putter.

“I got into a nice rhythm, and hole started to look big towards the end.”

Good thing for Spieth, because Derek Fathauer also made a big charge to keep up. Starting at the 10th hole at Pebble Beach Friday morning at two-under, he also recorded four front-nine birdies and then ran off four more – including three in a row – on the back nine to tie Spieth atop the lead.

The day got off to a later start than expected. Play was supposed to begin at 7:30am PST to give players a chance to finish up their opening rounds, but further rainfall and unplayable conditions pushed the start time to an hour later. The first round was not completed until 10:46am, while the second round got under way about 15 minutes earlier.

That was not the end of the delays, however. While play resumed without interruption at the other two courses, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula, it was suspended at Pebble Beach at around 1:30pm PST due to foggy conditions that made the course unplayable.

That delay was short-lived, as play was allowed to resume at 1:43pm.

From that point on, the weather was no longer the biggest issue, and by 3:30pm, the sun began to poke out of the cloud cover, which appears to be a sign of things to come for those heading here for the weekend, when sunny skies are expected in the area.

It then simply became an issue of the players having enough time to finish their rounds, which had really been an issue from the beginning – and a highly-unlikely outcome – due to the later start times on Friday. Play was eventually called at 4:21pm PST due to the re-emergence of fog. However, there were some players, including first-round co-leader Joel Dahmen, who had only finished 11 holes and were probably not going to have enough daylight to finish anyway.

Fathauer, meanwhile, had one more hole to play, which he will now play Saturday morning.

Jon Rahm was another who started to make a run at it as the weather dried out. Starting his day at one-under, he went on a tear in the early going of his second round, making six birdies in a row in the first eight holes of the day at Pebble Beach.

He ran out of steam after that initial onslaught, however, and after a bogey on the back nine, he finished his round with a five-under 67, tying him for 13th place.

Other notable players who charged their way toward the top included Jason Day, who started the day at two-under but picked up seven birdies, including four consecutive on holes nine through 12. However, that’s when the calling of play slammed the brakes on his day, and he was forced to walk off the course in the third position, unable to make up any more ground.

Play is expected to resume at 7:35am PST, in order to allow players, such as Fathauer and Day, to finish up their second rounds.

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