Two players who each recorded their first PGA Tour wins in calendar year 2013, but who took very different paths to that goal, share the top of the leaderboard after 36 holes at the 2014 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Veteran Tour pro Jimmy Walker recorded his first PGA Tour victory at the 2013 Frys.com Open last October – in his 188th PGA Tour start – and came back five starts later to record his second, at the Sony Open in mid-January. Walker moved into the 36-hole lead today at the AT&T Pro-Am with a 3-under 69 at Spyglass Hill after carding a 6-under 66 at Pebble Beach Golf Links on Thursday, giving him a two-round total of nine under par.
Less than an hour later after he closed out his second round at the top of the leaderboard, Walker was joined there by Tour phenom Jordan Spieth, a 20-year-old second-year pro from Texas. A spate of high finishes, including a win at the John Deere Classic last July, conferred star status on the youngster from Dallas, who played his way into full status on the PGA Tour after dropping out of the University of Texas in 2013. Spieth posted 67s on Spyglass Hill and MPCC Shore (which is playing at par 71) to match Walker’s 9-under total.
Hunter Mahan, the 2011 runner-up at Pebble Beach, bid fair to join Walker & Spieth at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the day, but a bogey at the 416-yard par-4 sixth hole at Spyglass Hill – his fifteenth hole, after starting on the back nine – dropped him to third, one shot back – a shot he wasn’t able to pick up again over the closing trio of holes.
First-round leader Andrew Loupe dropped to fourth after carding a 1-over 73 in the tough weather conditions at Pebble Beach today – a fair drop from his opening-round 63 – 8 under – on the par-71 MPCC Shore Course.
Hahn is top NorCal pro after 36 holes
James Hahn, the 2003 Cal grad who grew up in San Bruno and now calls Alameda home, was the highest-standing NorCal player in the field at the halfway mark in the 2014 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Hahn shot a 3-under 69 in Thursday’s first round, at Pebble Beach, and was looking good for moving into the top 10 on the leaderboard after 36 holes before a late pair of bogeys at Spyglass Hill dropped him back to T-28, at 3-under.
Kevin Chappell of Fresno is the next NorCal pro in the standings, at two under par. Chappell ended his Friday at T-43, comfortably inside the Saturday cut line if he can hold his position, after playing Spyglass Hill and MPCC Shore for his first two rounds. Stormy weather is expected to roll in for Saturday’s third round, which Chappell will play at Pebble, a tough course in windy conditions.
Hahn and Chappell are the only reasonable NorCal hopes for final-round play – no one else with a NorCal connection is under par after 36 holes, and the difficult conditions expected for Saturday play don’t bode well for players who need to make a big move to make it into Sunday’s final round.