Beau Hossler plays his third shot from a bunker on the 18th hole during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. (Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)
Beau Hossler and Kevin Streelman shot 7-under-par rounds of 65 on Thursday to share the first round lead of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California.
Hossler opened his day at Pebble Beach with two birdies in his first three holes, then reeled off five more over his final seven holes to card a bogey-free round. Streelman put together his own bogey-free round at Spyglass Hill, widely considered the hardest of the three courses in the pro-am rotation this week, Monterey Peninsula being the third.
“For the most part, pretty stress-free,” Hossler said. “Hit a lot of greens, had a lot of pretty decent looks at birdie. The golf course is tough because the wind can switch pretty easily.”
Former Oregon star Aaron Wise was among the final players on the course at Monterey and had a chance to pull even with the leaders, but he managed only a par on his final hole of the day. He shot a 6-under 65, leaving him in a three-way tie for second in relation par with Matt Kuchar and Julian Suri, who both posted 6-under 66s at Spyglass.
Kuchar has local ties. As a child, he spent summers in New Hampshire; his grandfather, Maurice, once starred in football at Manchester Central and the University of New Hampshire.
Top-ranked Dustin Johnson is playing in his first PGA Tour event since the Tournament of Champions, and he opened with a 5-under 67 at Spyglass Hill. He is in a group of 10 players tied for sixth place.
A two-time winner of the event, Johnson has the length to get a big advantage on the par-5s on three of the shortest courses on Tour. He posted his third round of 67 or better since 2008 at Spyglass, where he is 38 under and has 61 birdies or better — all first or tied for first during that span. His six birdies Thursday included one on each of Spyglass’ par-5s.
“I’m happy with the round,” Johnson told reporters. “I could definitely do things a little bit better, but you know, I had a lot of really good looks at birdie. And didn’t really make anything, but all (together) a pretty solid day ... pretty easy day.”
Spain’s Jon Rahm, the man trying to pry the No. 1 ranking away from Johnson this week, shot a 68 at Monterey Peninsula. That puts him in a deep group of players at 4 under that includes Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who is playing in the event for the first time with his father as his pro-am partner.
Johnson was playing in a group that included defending champion Jordan Spieth. After missing the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last week, Spieth saw his inconsistency with the putter continue during an even-par opening round that included one birdie and a lone bogey at Spyglass Hill.
Chez Reavie is dealing with no such inconsistency. After losing to Gary Woodland in a playoff in Arizona on Sunday, Reavie came right back with a 5-under 67 at Pebble Beach on Thursday. He has made 19 consecutive cuts, including all eight events he has entered during the 2017-18 wraparound season.
“You definitely lose a little bit of sleep ... kind of ‘what if I did this,’ ‘what if I did that, I could have won,’” Reavie told the Golf Channel of his second-place finish at the Phoenix Open. “All in all, you have to take all of the positives. I gave myself a chance.”
And there were a lot of positives to take from a sunny day at Pebble Beach with minimal wind.
“It’s just the most beautiful place in the world,” Reavie said. “It’s fantastic. It’s just relaxing to be by the ocean and to play a fantastic golf course. It’s a real treat.”
The pro-am format features rounds on three courses over the first three days: Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club. For the pro-am, the format is net best ball of the 156 pro-am teams. After the first three rounds, the top 60 pros and ties and the top 25 pro-am teams qualify for Sunday’s final round at Pebble Beach.
“This is as good as it gets,” Hossler said after his opening round at Pebble Beach. “It’s one of those courses where you can get caught up in looking at some of the views and lose focus, so you gotta remember that you’re still playing a tournament.”