Opening eagle helps Paul Dunne to 67 at Pebble Beach

Irish golfer is four shots off the leader Chez Reavie after first round in California

Ireland’s Paul Dunne plays his tee shot on the par-three 11th hole during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club  in , California. Photograph:  Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Ireland’s Paul Dunne plays his tee shot on the par-three 11th hole during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in , California. Photograph: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

 

An opening eagle helped Paul Dunne card a four-under 67 in his opening round at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California.

The 23-year-old Irish golfer put his missed cut at the Phoenix Open behind him to finish inside the top 20, four shots behind leader Chez Reavie, who also played the par-71 Monterey Peninsula course, one of three played in the event.

Starting on the par-five 10th hole, Dunne made an eagle three before handing one shot back on the par-three 11th. Six straight pars followed before his round took off with four birdies in five holes as he made it to five under. A bogey on the par-three 17th saw him drop back to a share of 16th position.

Dunne and former R&A chief executive Peter Dawson are tied for sixth spot on the pro-am leaderboard on nine under.

Pádraig Harrington was a shot behind Dunne on three under after five birdies and three birdies in a 68, also at Monterey. Shane Lowry carded an even-par 71 on the same course.

American Reavie rebounded superbly from missed cuts in his last two PGA Tour starts to fire an eight-under-par 63 at Monterey and grab a one-shot lead in the opening round.

While some of the biggest names in the game battled hard to post sub-par scores, Reavie covered his final nine holes in a sizzling seven-under 30, considered the easiest of the three venues being used for this week’s event.

That left Reavie, whose only PGA Tour victory came at the 2008 Canadian Open, one stroke in front of Australian Cameron Smith and American Bronson Burgoon, who also played at Monterey, after a picture postcard day of unbroken sunshine.

Swede Freddie Jacobson had the best score at the Pebble Beach host course, a seven-under 65, while Englishman Justin Rose and American JB Holmes were best at Spyglass Hill, with six-under 66.

World number one Jordan Spieth, back on the PGA Tour after playing tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Singapore, struggled with his short game as he mixed four birdies with three bogeys for an opening 71 on the challenging Spyglass Hill layout.

“I played the hardest holes on this golf course in four under par and then I played all the easy ones over par,” Spieth, 22, told Golf Channel. “It’s kind of a bit odd.

“I’m just not quite dialled in with my wedges or with the short game right now. I had three (birdie) chances on par-fives greenside, just little chip shots, basic shots, and I made par as well as bogeying that 115-yard par-three.

“So a little frustrating with that but, all in all, to actually shoot one under with what I felt like I should have shot today is promising, considering we are going to the two easier courses, in my mind.”

Australian world number three Jason Day also had to fight hard as he matched Spieth with a 71 at Spyglass Hill.

“It’s a little frustrating,” said Day, who birdied two of his last six holes to finish the round with something of a flourish.

“I feel like I am hitting the ball pretty good and then I stand over some shots and I just don’t quite have the control that I would like to have.

“I feel okay with how I am driving it. I feel like it’s really close. Once I start getting that control back in the swing and I start gaining a little bit more confidence, then hopefully from there I will start playing a little better.”

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