Bettencourt leads Pebble Beach Invitational

Matt Bettencourt
Matt Bettencourt ( Associated Press )

Thursday, November 18, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – PGA Tour winner Matt Bettencourt shot an 8-under 64 at Del Monte on Thursday to take a two-stroke lead in the Pebble Beach Invitational, while Annika Sorenstam opened with a 69 at Del Monte in a rare competitive start since her retirement in 2008.

Bettencourt, the Reno-Tahoe Open winner in July who finished 114th on the 2010 money list, had two eagles, five birdies and a bogey in the Callaway Golf-sponsored tournament that features 76 male and female players.

“I started slow, but hit a great shot on No. 9 from about 250 yards to 12 feet and got the eagle,” said Bettencourt, who tied for fourth in the tournament last year. “I didn’t know I was in the lead, but I knew 64 or 65 was out here. Del Monte on a day like today is a pretty benign course.”

Bettencourt birdied three of the final four holes, but missed a 15-inch birdie putt on the 14th.

“It was a good round, although I left some putts out there,” he said.

LPGA Tour player Morgan Pressel, PGA Tour veteran Bryce Molder and New York club pro Heath Wassen opened with 66s, also at Del Monte.

Five players, including Champions Tour player Tom Purtzer, shot 67s.

Ten of the top 11 opening-round scores were posted at Del Monte, which is used in rotation with Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach for the first three rounds. The final round will be played at Pebble Beach.

Defending champion Mark Brooks, the only three-time Pebble Beach Invitational winner, had a 77 at Del Monte. Juli Inkster, who in 1990 become only female player to win the event, shot a 2-under 70 at Pebble Beach.

The winner will receive $60,000 from the $300,000 purse. readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.