San Francisco: Belgium’s Thomas Detry pitched in from the greenside rough on the last hole to grab a one-stroke lead after Thursday’s opening round of the PGA Tour Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Detry, chasing his first PGA Tour triumph, birdied the first three and final three holes at Spyglass Hill to fire a nine-under par 63 — one off the tournament record — and seize a one-stroke edge over American Patrick Cantlay.
“It was a great round of golf,” Detry said. “I was driving it great out there. I didn’t really have any misses. I drove it far as well.”
The first two rounds of the PGA “signature” event, which features no cut and an 80-golfer field, are played over the Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill courses.
World No 99 Detry, whose best PGA finish was a 2022 runner-up effort at Bermuda, birdied the first three holes, took his lone bogey at the par-3 fifth, then answered with birdies at the par-5 seventh and the first two holes on the back nine.
After completing a sweep of par-5 birdies at 14, the 31-year-old Belgian birdied 16 and 17 to match Cantlay for the lead, then left his approach shot of a raised green at 18, only to punch out his third and have it roll into the hole.
“Just perfect,” Detry said. “It was an uphill lie, I felt pretty comfortable I’d put it within three feet. And it rolled nicely, just trickled in the hole. It was lovely to watch.”
France’s Matthieu Pavon, coming off a victory last week at Torrey Pines, was third on 65 followed by Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo and South Korea’s Kim Si-woo on 66 and Americans Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa sharing sixth on 67.
Among the leaders, only Pavon, Kim and Morikawa played at Pebble Beach.
Cantlay, the 2021 PGA Player of the Year and FedEx Cup playoff champion, birdied the 13th hole, then reeled off four birdies in a row starting at the 17th, then birdied three of the final five holes.
Maintaining the momentum
“My short game was really sharp and made a bunch of those midrange putts to keep the momentum going,” he said.
Cantlay seeks his ninth career PGA Tour title and first since the 2022 BMW Championship.
Defending champion Justin Rose of England was in a pack on 68 that also included Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg plus Americans Sam Burns, Eric Cole, Justin Thomas and Denny McCarthy. Only Cole and McCarthy played at Pebble Beach.
World No 1 Scottie Scheffler, who played Spyglass, was in a huge pack on 69.
Second-ranked Rory McIlroy fired a 71 at Spyglass Hill. The four-time major winner from Northern Ireland, a back-nine starter, reeled off three birdies in a row starting at the par-3 third hole to reach 6-under.
McIlroy gets two-stroke penalty
He followed with two bogeys around a double bogey on the next three holes after being assessed a two-stroke penalty at the par-5 seventh for an improper drop to take 8 on the hole.
“I had a really (good) score and then just sort of let it get away from me those last few holes,” McIlroy said. “Had a bit of a bad finish there but for the most of it I hit the ball pretty well.”
Nick Dunlap, a 20-year-old American who two weeks ago became the first amateur since 1991 to win a PGA Tour event, made his professional debut at Pebble Beach and shot 76.