5 things: Points makes most of Murray pairing
Thursday, February 10, 2011
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – With 156 pros, 156 amateurs, three pristine golf courses, a day even the Chamber of Commerce couldn’t have dreamed, and enough highlights to fill a notebook, we’ll filter down to five things worth discussing with the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am:
Don’t adjust your agate list . . .
The scores are correct. Do not be alarmed. The guy with 63 is tied with the guy at 65. The guy at 64 trailed the guy at 65. And the guy at 67 is tied with the guy at 65.
With three courses in the rota and one of them a par 70 (Monterey Peninsula CC), it’s a bit different to follow along here at the clambake, but trust us, it will all shake out fairly in the end.
Steve Marino and D.A. Points share the first-round lead after posting 7 under scores – Marino a 65 at Spyglass, Points a 63 at MPCC. Alex Cejka shot 6 under at Monterey, then came the two best scores at Pebble Beach, 67s by Tom Gillis and Gary Woodland, to tie Keegan Bradley (65 at MPCC) for a share of fourth.
Don’t read too much into those scores, however, because overall this is not a birdie festival. Thanks to impeccably dry weather, the courses are firmer than anyone can remember for early February and the field scores indicate how tough things are.
MPCC played .712 over par, Pebble .462, and Spyglass .442, as only 58 players broke par.
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
D.A. Points held on for a two-shot lead at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
A great week before he even opened with a 63
So, you think going 7 under had D.A. Points smiling? Well, it made him feel good, but the smile has been there since learning Tuesday night that he had drawn Bill Murray as a partner.
“I’ve wanted to play with him for a few years now,” Points said. “I was kind of in Scott Simpson’s ear (Murray’s longtime partner). Whenever I would see him, I was like, ‘Hey, you going to play with Bill this year?’ ”
Always, Simpson would say, “yeah, yeah,” but now that he’s no longer in the mix with the younger crowd, Points had his chance. Fortunately, it worked out, too.
The partnership got off to a vintage start when Points met Murray at a party Tuesday night. Then, on Wednesday he answered a voicemail from Murray, which was a surprise, “because I didn’t even give him my number.”
And the message said what?
“He goes, ‘I got your number from the police department,’ ” Points said, laughing. Then came this: “He said, ‘I’m playing this afternoon after the celebrity shootout over at Cypress Point, would you like to play?’ ”
So over to Cypress went Points to join Murray and two women, “basically the twilight round at Cypress.”
One could consider the week complete right then and there, but what followed was a round of 7-under 63 at MPCC for Points to tie for the lead and a team score of 11 under 59 to sit just one off the lead.
“Wow,” Points said.
Feeling at home
Next to slipping on a pair of skates and feeling the cold Canadian air, nothing it seems makes Mike Weir feel as comfortable as a stroll around these Monterey Peninsula layouts.
“Feels good to score like I did,” said the diminutive lefthander after throwing down a 4 under 68 at Spyglass.
His sentiments are understandable because he’s failed to break 70 in any of his eight rounds in 2011 as his return from a layoff due to an elbow injury has been spotty. In fact, you have to go back to Aug. 19, 2010 – Round 1 of the Wyndham Championship – for the last time when Weir broke 70 in the first round of a PGA Tour tournament.
Credit a return to the Pebble area, which has always treated him well. Playing in his 14th straight AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Weir has two seconds, two thirds, a fourth, and seven top 10s in this tournament.
But, no, he’s not getting ahead of himself.
“Being off that long, the club felt a little funny when I started swinging again after a little over three months,” he said. “But it’s good to get a good round and get started right.
Sore spot, good memory
Paul Stankowski felt a tweak in his back early in the morning and labored through a 2 over 72 at Monterey Peninsula.
“Hopefully, ice will be my friend,” Stankowski said.
He was particularly disappointed because he had never seen MPCC play so firm and fast and it’s a golf course which provides him with great memories. Back in 1990, Stankowski made a spirited run at the California State Amateur, which used MPCC as a qualifying site. He made it to the semifinals that year, losing to Charlie Wi in the championship.
Wi is one of three former state amateur champions in this week’s AT & T field, the others being Spencer Levin and Duffy Waldorf.
He came into the AT&T as the PGA Tour’s hottest player, but Mark Wilson did not continue his magical run. He made the turn in 1 over 35, fought back to even par, then finished bogey, bogey to shoot 2 over 72 at Monterey.
Yet the unassuming kid from Wisconsin wasn’t about to complain, not with having won twice in three starts, including last week’s marathon session in Scottsdale, Ariz. In fact, it was just the second time in 14 rounds this year that Wilson has been over par and just the third time he’s been over 70.
That’s how great things have been going. Just don’t ask him why.
“It’s such a fine line between winning and just having a good week,” Wilson said. “Can’t explain it. The ball is going where I look a little more often.”