Pebble Beach - JB Holmes and Justin Hicks
made the most of perfect California weather to seize the lead at the $6.8m
Pebble Beach Pro-Am, with John Daly a surprising early contender just a stroke
The red-hot Holmes, fresh off a playoff
loss to Australian Jason Day at Torrey Pines on Sunday, opened his round with
an eagle at the par-four 10th hole on the par-72 Pebble Beach Golf Links, one
of three courses in use in the first three rounds of the US PGA Tour event.
He nabbed seven birdies and one bogey
before he was done with an eight-under 64, and Hicks joined him atop the
leaderboard with a bogey-free round that included six birdies and an eagle at
Pebble Beach's par-five 18th.
A string of familiar faces were lined up
behind them on seven-under -- Daly perhaps the biggest surprise among them.
The two-time major champion, now 48 and
without a US PGA Tour win since 2004, birdied the 18th on Pebble Beach for a 65
that put him tied with Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Chesson Hadley, Dudley Hart
and JJ Henry.
Hart and Henry also carded 65s on Pebble
Beach, which in benign weather is typically the easiest of the three courses in
Furyk, Snedeker and Hadley all posted
seven-under 64s on the par-71 Monterey Peninsula layout.
But Daly, as famous these days for his
colourful clothing, off-course antics and hulking frame as his golf, stole the
"They don't come easy and they don't
come often," Daly said of his bogey-free round. "I'm happy about it
and hopefully I can just keep the same rhythm I had today. I don't know how or
why. I just found something on the range."
Daly, who did win a 54-hole pro-am event in
Turkey in December, averaged 322 yards off the tee.
"As long as I still hit the driver
well and hit some fairways," he said, "I still think I can
Furyk, making his season debut, is seeking
his first win in a tournament in which his best finish was a tie for third in
1998. Snedeker won the title in 2013.
Alex Prugh had the best score at the par-72
Spyglass Hill, a six-under 66 that earned him a share of ninth place with
Australians Rod Pampling and Matt Jones, and fellow Americans Nick Watney, Pat
Perez and Max Homa.
Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the $6.8 million Pebble
Beach National Pro-Am on the par-72 Pebble Beach Golf Links, par-71
Monterey Peninsula, par-72 Spyglass Hill (USA unless noted):
64 - Justin Hicks, J.B. Holmes
64 - Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Chesson Hadley
65 - John Daly, Dudley Hart, J.J. Henry
65 - Rod Pampling (AUS), Matt Jones (AUS), Nick Watney
66 - Pat Perez, Alex Prugh, Max Homa
66 - Matt Bettencourt, Will Wilcox, Kevin Chappell, Glen Day
67 - Vijay Singh (FIJ), Chez Reavie, Brian Stuard, Daniel Berger, David Hearn, Daniel Summerhays, Kim Whee (KOR)