The first round of the 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is in the books, and Hunter Mahan is tied with Russell Knox for the lead at 6-under. Mahan has finished inside the top 20 the past two weeks, and he remains one of the best ball-strikers in the world. But after a quick start to the season last year, he trailed off in the summer months and dropped out of the qualifying process for the Ryder Cup.
Mahan appears to have his game in order here early in the 2013 season. Even if he's off a bit, he still has the talent to place in the top 20 or top 10 at events. He was wide on a few approach shots on Thursday, but had pretty much everything working on his way to a round of 66 at Pebble Beach. The wedge and short game were particularly impressive in the first round, as he picked up birdies on No. 7 and No. 11 thanks to the wedge work. He also saved a crucial par on No. 12 when he got up-and-down from some greenside rough. It looked like he may take the lead into the house, but an eagle putt on the famed 18th at Pebble just missed so he settled for an easy tap-in birdie and the share of the lead.
Knox matched Mahan at 6-under but had to shoot a 64 on the par-70 Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club. Knox has almost no PGA Tour experience, and the Scot missed the cut in his only appearance this season.
Some of the biggest names in the field are also in red numbers, including Lee Westwood, Brandt Snedeker, and Phil Mickelson. Phil drove the ball well at MPCC but he had a frustrating day on the green, burning several edges on birdies putts. It had the potential be another super-low round in the mid-60s but the putts were not falling as he settled for a 1-under round of 69.
Westwood spent the day with his father, who's his amateur playing partner this week. The Englishman does not typically play this event, but he's moved his family to the States and called the opportunity to play with his dad one of the best weeks he'll have all season. He made his way around Pebble in 68, slotting in two shots behind the leaders at 4-under. It's a strong PGA Tour debut for Westwood.
Snedeker is one player who's name has been constantly on the first page of the leaderboard. He's playing the best golf on the planet right now, but has been unable to clinch wins through the first month of the season. Snedeker took advantage of the short layout at MPCC to shoot a 4-under round of 66. Coming off back-to-back second place finishes, he should be in the hunt yet again this Sunday.
As for the Pro-Am competition, Scott Langley and partner Doug Mackenzie hold a one-shot lead over Snedeker and Toby Wilt. Both amateurs are in the wealthy business executive category as opposed to the "celebrity" classification.
Here are some of the names atop the leaderboard, but a majority of the field is under par and in striking distance:
|Ted Potter, Jr.||-5||F|
For a live leaderboard, visit Golf.com.