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Pebble Beach Pro-Am Still Playing Catch-up; Walker Excels
Though the rain that caused a three-hour delay in Thursday's opening round wasn't a problem, high winds were Saturday in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Despite those conditions, Jimmy Walker persevered and may have turned in one of the best rounds of the year.
The 33-year-old Oklahoman, who's already won twice on the PGA Tour's reconfigured 2013-14 season and is in front of both the early earnings list and FedEx Cup points' standings, posted a stellar 4-under 67 at blustery Monterey Peninsula Country Club for a 54-hole total of 13-under 203 and a six-stroke lead heading into Sunday.
When winds gusted to over 35 mph, tournament officials suspended play, a delay that this time stretched two hours and 20 minutes. The situation became untenable when sitting golf balls were blown off greens. Officials even sprayed water on the putting surfaces to give them tackiness. The tactic didn't work.
Thankfully, the weather cooperated Friday, allowing all first and second rounds to be completed. Unfortunately on Saturday, the winds came up along the Pacific Coast and the $6.6 million PGA Tour event at California's famed Monterey Peninsula came to a halt.
"It's a shame," said Mark Russell, the Tour's vice president of rules and competitions. "We missed the rain but the wind got us."
Yet Walker, who began Saturday tied for the lead with Jordan Spieth, carded five birdies and his first bogey of the tournament, on the par-4 fifth hole. Spieth, who played a wind-blasted Pebble Beach, was at 5-over par through 15 holes before darkness forced the 20-year-old Texan and several other players to the clubhouse.
The final round will be played at Pebble Beach. The first three rounds rotated between the par-72 Pebble Beach, par-71 Monterey Peninsula Country Club and par-72 Spyglass Hill.
New Zealand's Tim Wilkinson has shot rounds of 67, 72 and 69, with the latter coming at Monterey Peninsula. He's at 7-under 208 with Hunter Mahan (72 at Monterey Peninsula). Another stroke back at 209 is Richard H. Lee (72 at Spyglass Hill).
Four-time AT&T Pebble Beach National winner Phil Mickelson managed a 71 at Spyglass to reach 5-under 210 and a share of fifth with Blake Adams (72 Pebble Beach), Kevin Na (70 Monterey Peninsula), Ryan Palmer (72 Pebble), Pat Perez (71 Spyglass) and Jim Renner (72 Spyglass).
Two-time AT&T winner Dustin Johnson had a 70 at Pebble to join several others at 4-under 211.
Because the third round - after which the final-round cut is made in the AT&T - wasn't completed, the players and pro-am teams who'll qualify for the final round will be determined Sunday morning, weather-depending of course.
Points' DQ Not Enough to Force Him to Quit
Late Friday night, 2011 A&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am champion D.A. Points was disqualified for using an artificial device or unusual equipment during a round. Fans reported the situation after seeing Points, during a delay in play on the 18th tee at Pebble Beach, take a green sponge ball out of his bag, put it under his arm and make several practice swings, a violation of Rule 14-3.
"We were standing on the tee; it's cold, it's raining," said Points, who's playing with amateur partner and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and shot a 3-over 75, putting him at 1-under halfway through the tournament. "I pull out the ball and make some dry practice swings, just trying to loosen up. I come to find out it's an unusual training device, something you wouldn't have in your bag."
Despite being eliminated from the tournament and a potential payday, Points took the option of continuing to play in the third round, a classy move. He and Rice were in 125th place at the start of the third round, but Points played anyway.
"It's not every day that you get to play 18 holes at Spyglass, let alone 18 holes at Spyglass with Secretary Rice," said Points, who with his 2011 AT&T title also won the pro-am portion of the historic tournament with long-suffering amateur partner, actor Bill Murray. "She's such a sweet, just warm-hearted woman and she loves golf, and she's wanting to get better.
"I signed up to play at the (AT&T) Pebble Beach (National) Pro-Am. it's not just about me and the golf tournament, it's about playing with our amateurs and making sure they have a good time.
"And who knows, if we could have come out today and lit the scoreboard up, lit the place on fire, maybe she would have got to see tomorrow. And my intent was to come out and help her have a good time and give her an opportunity to keep playing."
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.
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