Fairways And Roughs Title

Johnson and Hossler co-lead, Mickelson in the hunt

By PGA Tour News
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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – On one side of the country Friday, Dustin Johnson shot a bogey-free 64 on his nemesis Monterey Peninsula course to grab a share of the 36-hole lead at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. On the other side of the country, Scott Johnson bowled a perfect game of 300 in his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina. Dustin has carded several 64s in his PGA TOUR career, but he’s never bowled a 300. His father, though, has accomplished it several times. “He can roll the rock pretty well,” Johnson said. Of course, Dustin can hit the much-smaller rock pretty well, especially in this event, which he’s won twice. But Monterey Peninsula has never treated him particularly well. In eight previous rounds, he had only broken 70 twice – a 68 in 2010 and a 69 in 2015. Setting a new career-low by four strokes has him feeling confident entering the weekend. He’s tied with Beau Hossler at 12 under. “Probably the first time we have ever played over there with nice weather, so it was definitely a good day,” said the world No. 1. “I like the golf course,” he added. “I feel like I should play really well; for some reason I just never have. Obviously this year I played much better.” As for his bowling, Johnson said his bid for 300 came up short after he opened with 11 consecutive strikes before faltering in the final frame. “I gassed so bad,” he recalled. He’s hoping to avoid a similar fate this weekend at Pebble Beach. MICKELSON IN THE MIX Jon Rahm spent 54 holes last week with Phil Mickelson in Phoenix. He noticed two things about his fellow Arizona State alum. “No. 1, something’s turned, something’s clicked – he’s got more desire than ever to win. No. 2, his driving’s a lot better,” Rahm said. “We all know how good everything else is, but if he starts hitting fairways, we all have to watch out.” Well, Mickelson has indeed hit plenty of fairways through the first two rounds. And he indeed seems driven to end a drought that’s lasted nearly 5 years since his 2013 Open Championship win. At 9 under, he’ll enter the weekend three shots behind the co-leaders and will have two rounds at Pebble Beach. Given his current form and prior success – he’s won here four times – there’s every reason to think the 47-year-old Mickelson will be a factor this weekend. In his last 27 holes, Mickelson is a bogey-free 11 under. Hitting those fairways is key – he was 9 of 13 at Monterey and is 17 of 27 for the two rounds. “The fairways are wide and they feel pretty easy to hit,” Mickelson said. As for the desire … well, Mickelson said he is intent on making the Ryder Cup team and thus wants to make a quick impression this year. A T5 last week followed by a strong start this week certainly has caught everyone’s attention. “Last week was a good kickstart,” Mickelson said, “and carrying the momentum over to a place here that I love and have had some success is a lot of fun.” NOTABLES Co-leader Beau Hossler is playing for the fifth straight week but isn’t showing any signs of fatigue. A couple of bogey-free 67s has the first-year TOUR pro primed for a big weekend entering his third round at Monterey Peninsula. “I played a little bit more than five in a row last year, so I feel good about where I’m at now physically,” he said. And in case you’re wondering – yes, he’ll play for the sixth straight week at next week’s Genesis Open. … Defending champion Jordan Spieth bounced back from a disappointing 72 at Spyglass Hill to shoot 66 at Monterey Peninsula. That leaves him at 5 under entering the weekend at Pebble Beach. A year ago, he shot 65 in third round at Pebble to build a six-shot lead. This time, he’ll try to catch the leaders. “I think we’re going to get winds from 10-15 (mph), which could be advantageous on some holes out there at Pebble,” he said. “It’s all about just giving myself enough opportunities.” … Jon Rahm made birdies on two par 5s at Pebble Beach, including the 570-yard sixth. That may not seem significant, but given his struggles on the par 5s recently, it was a refreshing change of pace. “It hasn’t been a great year on par 5s,” Rahm said, despite the fact he ranks T-12 in par-5 scoring this season. “Final round at Stadium Course at Palm Springs, didn’t make any birdies. Final round in Phoenix, I actually had no more than 5-iron to all the par 5s, dead center of the fairway, made two pars and a bogey. And again, bogey-free yesterday. So I have had a little bit of frustration, but it all went away when I hit those two shots into the green on 6.” … Jason Day had a bogey-free 65 at Monterey to move into a six-way tie for fifth at 9 under. “To go around here shooting 65 and not have a blemish on the scorecard was nice,” Day said. … Rory McIlroy, making his debut at this event, is in danger of missing the cut. He shot a 3-over 74 at Monterey that leaves him at 1 under and tied for 87th. If he doesn’t advance to Sunday, he can look back at the double-bogey he suffered at the par-4 fifth when he nearly drove the green, then needed five strokes with his putter (officially a four-putt) to finish the hole. … European Tour pro Julian Suri, playing his third PGA TOUR event on a sponsor exemption, is at 10 under and tied for third. Suri recently signed an endorsement deal to become the official golfer of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Suri moved to North Florida when he was 10 years old and became an immediate Jags fan. He watched the team’s playoff win last month over Buffalo in owner Shad Khan’s suite. “He was a nervous wreck, especially coming down the stretch,” Suri said. “But he was definitely in a better mood once we pulled out the W.”… Dallas’ Will Zalatoris is playing this week with amateur partner Tony Romo, the former Cowboys quarterback. Zalatoris is 7 under and tied for 13th; the Zalatoris/Romo team is tied for 11th at 15 under. Not bad considering that Romo is playing as a 0 handicap, meaning every birdie he makes is a legitimate one. He made five on Friday. “We tag-teamed it really well,” Zalatoris said. “I think we only birdied the same hole once and that was 10. So he did a great job.” THE TAKEAWAY QUOTABLES “There’s been some moments in my career that I’ve kind of stepped into a new arena, but I wouldn’t say it’s intimidation. It’s kind of just getting used to a whole new facet of the game.” – Beau Hossler when asked if he’s ever been intimidated “This environment here, you have to embrace the fact that it’s going to be a slow day, it’s going to take a little while but enjoy the people you’re with.” – Phil Mickelson on his approach to playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am CALL OF THE DAY SUPERLATIVES Low round (at each course): Dustin Johnson - 64 at Monterey Peninsula; Denny McCarthy and Patrick Reed -- 66 at Spyglass Hill; Matt Atkins, Eric Axley, Jon Rahm – 67 at Pebble Beach Longest drive – 406 yards by Shawn Stefani at Monterey Peninsula’s 10th hole. Dustin Johnson was second at 383 yards. Derek Ernst had the longest drive at Pebble Beach, 357 yards on the ninth hole; Branden Grace had the longest drive at Spyglass Hill, 318 yards on the ninth hole. Longest putt – Eric Axley had a 49-foot, 3-inch putt for birdie on the ninth hole at Pebble Beach. Hardest holes (at each course) – Par-4 9th at Pebble Beach (4.288 stroke average); Par-4 17th at Monterey Peninsula (4.269); Par-4 8th at Spyglass Hill (4.235). Easiest holes (at each course) – Par-5 2nd at Pebble Beach (4.462 stroke average); Par-5 12th and Par-5 16th at Monterey Peninsula (4.288 each); Par-5 11th at Spyglass Hill (4.412). SHOT OF THE DAY BEST OF SOCIAL


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