PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Twenty months later, Dustin Johnson finally hit the drive he wanted at Pebble Beach. Ten years later, Tiger Woods must have wondered what kept him away from the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
On a spectacular day of scenery and scoring, Johnson blasted a tee shot on the third hole at Pebble Beach and then pitched in for eagle from 41 yards in front of the green. He added another eagle on his way to a 9-under-par 63 and a three-way tie atop the leaderboard Thursday.
Woods was five shots to par out of the lead, a solid start to his PGA Tour season. He had six birdies in a 4-under 68 at Spyglass Hill, the fourth-best score on that course.
Spyglass was the hardest of the three courses, though not by much. The weather was so pure that all three courses played about one shot under par.
Charlie Wi was over at Monterey Peninsula and had a shot at 59 without ever knowing it.
Wi was 8 under after a tap-in birdie on the 13th hole, and needed only three birdies in the last five holes. Trouble is, he had no idea the Shore Course was 70. He made one more birdie and had 9-under 61.
“I was looking at the scorecard like, ‘What’s the par here?’ I did not know it was a par 70,” Wi said. “That 59 never crossed my mind. Not once.”
Joining them was former U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee.
Johnson is turning into his generation’s “Prince of Pebble.” He won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in consecutive years, and then had a three-shot lead at Pebble in the U.S. Open two years ago until he shot 82 in the final round.
On the third hole of that round, he hit driver left into the bushes for a lost ball and made double bogey.
On Thursday, he smashed a driver nearly 340 yards over the trees to just short of the green, setting up eagle.