Jimmy Walker started Sunday's final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with what seemed like an insurmountable six-shot lead, but Hunter Mahan could make things interesting coming in on the back nine. Mahan has cut the deficit to four shots through the first six holes, which are the gettable scoring holes at Pebble before you hit the coastline. Walker, on the other hand, failed to post a red number during the scoring stretch and remains at 13-under.
In order to chasedown Walker, the group inside the top 10 had to make birdies on the par-5s and light up that opening stretch. Mahan added two red numbers at the early par-5s, Nos. 2 and 6, and now hits the teeth of the course with a chance to keep Walker sweating. We saw Patrick Reed struggle with a huge multi-shot margin on his final round at the Humana Challenge, so it's not exactly an easygoing cruise even if you have that huge lead.
At the start of the day, the most likely player to make it interesting was Phil Mickelson. But the four-time winner at Pebble stalled out trying to get aggressive at the start, completely falling out of longshot contention with back-to-back bogeys at the 2nd and 3rd. This is the last time we'll see Mickelson until the end of the month, as he passes on Riviera and the WGC-Match Play to rest up for the Florida swing and some pre-Masters prep. Unfortunately, he'll be playing out the string coming in over the final nine at a Pebble that he's punished over the years.
While Mickelson has faded, Mahan is just as worthy a challenger for Walker. The five-time PGA Tour winner went without a victory in 2012, but he played in the final Sunday pairing in back-to-back majors and pulled out of the RBC Canadian Open with the lead because his wife, Kandi, went into labor. Mahan will win again, and win soon. He'll just need Walker to stumble on some of Pebble's bogey spots -- Nos. 8 through 10, 14 -- to get some help on his way into the clubhouse.
Here's the leaderboard with the final pairing approaching the turn:
|T5||Richard H. Lee||-6||7|
|T57||Doug LaBelle II||2||10|