Points wins Pebble Beach with Murray at his side
Sunday, February 13, 2011
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.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Sunday at Pebble Beach turned out to be a real Cinderella story. D.A. Points captured his first PGA Tour victory and dragged along his amateur, Bill Murray of "Caddyshack" fame, to the pro-am title.
One shot behind as he played the second-toughest hole on the course, Points holed out for eagle from 100 yards on the 14th hole and followed that with a bending 30-foot birdie putt. He closed with a 5-under 67 for a two-shot victory in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Points became only the fourth player in the last 20 years to make Pebble Beach is first PGA Tour victory.
It was a rare occasion when the winner wasn't even the biggest star.
Murray, famous for his role as assistant greenskeeper Carl Spackler in "Caddyshack," has become a staple at this celebrity-rich tournament over the last two decades and once even tossed an elderly woman into the bunker.
He now gets his name on a plaque in the wall of pro-am champions below the first tee at Pebble Beach.
"Pebble Beach may be the most iconic place in America to play golf, and to win here, it's just a dream come true," said Points, who finished at 15-under 271 and earned his first trip to the Masters.
Making it even better was having Murray at his side.
Points said at the start of the week that being in the chaotic center of Murray and his antics kept him at ease. At his most nervous moment, facing a 6-foot par putt on the 16th hole, he turned the tables. As his partner stood over a long putt, Points hollered at Murray, "The crowd would be really happy if you could make that."
Murray missed. Points made his par, and finished with two easy pars.
Hunter Mahan shot 31 on the front nine and twice was tied for the lead on the back nine. He birdied the 17th with a tee shot inside 3 feet, then reached the par-5 18th in two. But he three-putted for par, missing a 4-foot birdie putt.
Ultimately, it didn't matter. Mahan closed with a 66 and wound up alone in second, two shots behind.
Steve Marino, who had a one-shot lead going into the final round, never caught up after Points made his eagle from the 14th fairway. Marino missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 16th to get within one, then slammed his driver to the turf on the 18th when his tee shot sailed into a bunker to the right.
Marino hit his third shot into the ocean and made a triple-bogey 8 that mattered only in his bank account. Not making a par to share second place was the difference of $327,200.
Tom Gillis closed with a 70 and finished along in third.
Points and Murray won the pro-am tournament by two shots. The trophy was locked up with Points' par on the 18th when Murray announced his "big putt" that was meaningless. He then mimicked some dialogue from the "Cinderella Story" scene in Caddyshack, when Murray swatted at flowers with his scythe and imagined the former greenskeeper on the verge of winning the Masters.
"It's in the hole!!!!"
Not quite. As the putt headed toward the cup, Murray jogged over to tap it while it was still moving, then thrust his arms in the air.
"The only chance D.A. had to win was if I could make it through the entire week without ever asking what the initials 'D.A.' stand for," Murray said. "And I didn't. And he's the champion."
They stand for Darren Andrew.
Murray also won the pro-am title in the Pebble Beach event on the Champions Tour with Scott Simpson, his longtime partner at Pebble Beach who played the straight man to Murray's routine.
Is this a new tandem?
"I'm thinking of turning pro," Murray said. "I probably won't. It's really nice to play with a gentleman. He's a good person. He's from Illinois. He's Lincoln-esque in stature and unfailingly polite."
Points showed that as he walked off the 18th green and said to the gallery, "Everyone, thank you for coming."
He put on quite a show.
Points started the final round two shots out of the lead, stayed in range and was flawless on the back nine. His big run started with an 8-foot birdie on the 10th hole, and then came his magical run.
For the second straight year, the pivotal hole at Pebble Beach turned out to be the 14th — this time for a good score. A year ago, Paul Goydos, Bryce Molder and Alex Prugh all had a chance to win until they made 9s on the par 5.
A few groups earlier, Phil Mickelson hit a 64-degree wedge that landed a foot on the green and rolled off to the left, down the slope. Points hit a gap wedge that was perfect, because it had to be. The ball landed in the first cut of rough, hopped onto the green and had just enough spin to slow to a trickle as it dropped into the cup.
His only mistake one the back nine was the chest-pump he tried to executive with Murray. They ran toward each other, and Points began to leap as Murray was landing. It looked bad, but it was a birdie 4 on the card.
Equally important was the birdie that followed, and Points was on his way.
He won for the first time in 128 starts on the PGA Tour. This earned him $1.134 million — more than he has made in any of his previous four seasons on tour — a two-year exemption and his first visit to Augusta National.