Friday’s roundup: Kang's 11-under 60 sets course record
Pebble Beach, Calif. — Sung Kang didn’t know anything about his amateur partner until he went on the Internet and looked up actor Ray Romano. He didn’t realize the par at Monterey Peninsula was 71 until he scrambled for par on his final hole and realized while signing his card Friday he set the course record with a career-low 60.
It added to a memorable day at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where Kang and Hiroshi Iwata wound up tied for the lead.
“I feel like I’m living a dream right now,” Kang said.
Kang and Phil Mickelson each brought the possibility of 59 into the conversation. Mickelson, however, finished with a 65.
Mickelson took only 11 putts on the front nine at Monterey Peninsula. When he made a 40-foot eagle putt on the 10th hole, he was 7 under for the round and had a pair of par 5s remaining over his last eight holes.
He made bogey on one of the par 5s, hooking his fairway metal into shrubs and having to reach into the thick plants with a hybrid to punch out the ball and make sure it only went about 6 feet so that it wouldn’t go up the slope and roll back into the bushes. Lefty usually doesn’t hit great shots that go 6 feet unless he has a putter.
Then, he nearly lost his tee shot on the final hole and made another bogey for a 65, leaving him one shot behind.
“I thought I was going to shoot a lot lower than I did,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t expect to play 1 over coming in. But I’m not going to complain because I made a lot of good putts on the front.”
Kang and Iwata were at 11-under 132.
Iwata, who tied a major championship record with a 63 at the PGA Championship last year at Whistling Straits, had a 66 at Pebble Beach.
Mickelson, Freddie Jacobson (69 at Spyglass Hill) and Chez Reavie (70 at Pebble Beach) were one shot to par behind at 10 under, while Justin Rose had a 68 at Monterey Peninsula and was at 9 under.
Kang had three birdies and an eagle on the back nine to start his round, picked up a pair of birdies early on the front nine and then poured it on with three straight birdies that brought him to 11 under with only the par-3 ninth remaining.
“I still thought the par was 72,” he said.
He hit what he called his worst shot of the day, a big cut that came up short and in the rough. He chipped to 15 feet and saved par.
Lake Orion’s Tom Gillis and Brian Stuard (Oakland University) are tied for 75th at par. Gillis bogeyed four holes on the front nine and parred everything else and shot a 76. Stuard struggled on the back nine and carded a 75.
Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh and his partner Matt Bettencourt are tied for 77th in the Pro-Am portion of the event. Harbaugh-Bettencourt are at 7-under after combining for a 67.
Bernhard Langer shot a 10-under 62 to take a four-stroke lead in the Champions Chubb Classic in Naples, Fla.
Langer made 11 birdies, including five straight birdies from Nos. 3-7 and Nos. 14-18.
Jay Haas was second, Jeff Maggert was third at 67, and Fred Couples was at 68 along with Kenny Perry Kevin Sutherland, Steve Lowery, Scott Hoch and Michael Allen.
Charl Schwartzel made a charge up the leaderboard at the Tshwane Open, going 6 under to sit two shots behind leader Anthony Michael.
Michael had a 69 to reach 7 under before a thunderstorm and hail forced the suspension of play at Pretoria Country Club in South Africa. American Daniel Im was tied for third at 4 under after firing a 68.
Top-ranked Lydia Ko shot a 3-under 69 in the first round of the New Zealand Women’s Open, leaving her three strokes behind Norway’s Nicole Broch Larsen.
Ko made a 20-foot putt on the 18th hole for her fifth birdie of the day in the round that also included two bogeys. The 18-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander won the event last year.
France’s Justine Dreher was second at 67.