Pebble Beach proves a tough test for world's top 10

By Carl Steward
Published on

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- One of the key selling points to this year's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was that it lured six players ranked in the world's top 10. But heading into Sunday's final round, only No. 3 Jason Day has a top 10 spot on the leader board, and his chance of victory is probably a long shot.

Day shot what he termed "an ugly 4-under par" 68 at Pebble Beach to sneak into a tie for eighth place, 10-under overall but still six shots behind third-round leader Phil Mickelson.

It wasn't nearly that good for the others in the top 10 set. World No. 1 Jordan Spieth had another dreary day, needing a par on the final hole just to make the cut. He's at 1 under after a shooting 2-over 74 at Pebble Beach.

"I just had a bad attitude that first nine," Spieth said. "I'm not going to win the golf tournament, but you never know, you can still post a good round. I'm just going to try and have fun, enjoy Pebble. It will be the first stress-free round that I've really had in a quite awhile where I've played a Sunday not having a chance to win."

Spieth will be paired once again with No. 8 Dustin Johnson, as he has been all week. Johnson scraped into the final day with a 1-under 71, and the two-time AT&T winner is also just 1 under for the tournament.

England's Justin Rose, No. 7 in the world, threatened the lead at one point early in his round, notching birdies on four of his first six holes at Pebble. But he didn't get another the rest of way, and four subsequent bogeys left him with an even-par 72. He's tied for 11th at 9 under.

No. 9 Patrick Reed shot a 1-over 73 and is tied for 23rd at 5 under. No. 6 Bubba Watson shot a 2-over 74 and is done for the tournament. Defending champion Brandt Snedeker, ranked 14th in the world, shot a 2-under 70 and is tied for 46th, 14 shots off the lead.

--Jimmy Walker, who won the event in 2014, went from 1 over to 9 under for the tournament with a 9-under 63 that included two eagles. Walker might have to duplicate that feat in the final round to have any chance, but it was still a miraculous recovery.

"I was kind of bummed about the first two days," Walker said. "I've had a bunch of three-putts, the speed (of the greens) was just way off for me. But today, everything kind of just fell into place."

Walker eagled the par 5s at No. 2 and No. 6, then nearly holed his approach on No. 9 for another one.

"It was on the lip," he said. "Crazy."

--Japan's Hiroshi Iwata, the second-round co-leader who is all alone in second, has played in front just a handful of people the first three days but will be facing a sizable gallery Sunday playing with Mickelson.

"I haven't felt any nerves or pressure quite yet," Iwata said. "I just want to make sure I go out there in a good mental condition."

--There won't be much celebrity presence in the pro-am portion of the final round. ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman (tied for 11th with pro J.J. Henry) and actor Ray Romano (paired with South Korea's Sung Kang, who is tied for third in the tournament) were the only notable names to make the 25-team cut. Yes, that's right, Berman's in and Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith, Jim Harbaugh, Josh Donaldson, Larry Fitzgerald and Wayne Gretzky are out.

A tiebreaker was used to reduce eight teams on the 17-under cut line to five, and the three ousted were all part of the celebrity field -- actor Mark Wahlberg (who had been paired with Watson), former 49ers lineman Harris Barton and TV personality Carson Daly.

This article was written by Carl Steward from The Oakland Tribune and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.