Dustin Johnson already was feeling good about his game heading over to the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. Another day of gorgeous weather in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am made him feel even better.
The world’s No. 1-ranked player ran off three straight birdies to start his round, made four birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn and wound up with a 7-under 64 on Friday to share the 36-hole lead with Beau Hossler in Pebble Beach, California.
“Probably my lowest by about seven shots at Monterey Peninsula, so I was happy with that,” Johnson said. “It’s probably the first time, too, I think we have ever played over there with nice weather.”
He only slightly exaggerated, but not by much. In four times playing at Monterey Peninsula since it joined the rotation, he only broke 70 one time and twice shot 73. The evidence of the different day he faced came early. Johnson hit a 9-iron on the 176-yard hole that plays downhill. A year ago, he hit 4-iron. On the 434-yard 13th hole a year ago, he “roasted” a driver and a 3-iron. This year, he hit 3-wood and had 85 yards left.
“But I was right behind the tree,” he said.
Hossler, the PGA Tour rookie best known in these parts for contending on the weekend at Olympic Club in the 2012 U.S. Open when he was 17, was flawless at Spyglass Hill in a round of 67 to join Johnson at 12 under par.
Hossler has not made a bogey this week. He holed an 18-foot par putt on the 10th hole at Pebble Beach on Thursday. For his second round, he never came close to bogey.
Hossler heads over to Monterey Peninsula, while Johnson spends his last two days at Pebble Beach.
They were two shots ahead to par on Julian Suri (67 at Monterey Peninsula) and Troy Merritt (67 at Spyglass Hill).
Lurking another shot behind were six players, including Madison’s Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson.
Stricker followed up his 69 with a 65 that featured an eagle on the par-5 16th hole.
Mickelson hasn’t won since the British Open in 2013, and he finally started to see some reasonable results after a sluggish start this year. Mickelson was tied for the lead at one point when he ran off three straight birdies at Monterey Peninsula, though he made only two more over his final 11 holes for a 65.
Madison’s Jerry Kelly shot a 5-over 76 — he had two double bogeys — and is 17 shots off the lead in 140th place.
Mark Calcavecchia shot an 8-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Rocco Mediate and Jeff Maggert after the first round of the Boca Raton (Florida) Championship, the PGA Tour Champions’ first full-field event of the season.