McIlroy has putting meltdown as Johnson takes Pebble Beach lead

Caitlin Conrad									SOURCE Caitlin Conrad

It's hard to believe that this will be the first time Rory McIlroy has played the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, but that's the case.

Matt Kuchar and Julian Suri were in a three-way tie for third after posting matching 66s.

"I think Pebble's a little bit tougher because the greens are a little firmer and smaller", he said "But if you play well, you can birdie and score low on all three (courses)".

"I do, too", said Phil, with a smile and a nod. "That was probably some of the best golf I've played in my career, but parts of the game are just as good". Hossler nabbed seven birdies at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Mickelson had gone 46 consecutive holes without a bogey, though he managed only one birdie Saturday at Pebble Beach.

Day was speaking on the eve of the storied Pebble Beach Pro-Am, an event that was nearly withering on the vine a few years ago, but which begins on Thursday with a field that includes the world's three top-ranked players and several former number ones.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth managed to get going, shooting a five-under 66 on Monterey Peninsula to be tied for 23rd.

There's a strong Irish interest at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am which gets underway today. He's skipping the WGC Mexico, and added Valspar to give him three in a row two times and to keep from being of for two weeks.

Phil Mickelson, the four-time event victor seeking his first PGA Tour win since the 2015 British Open, shot a 70 at Spyglass Hill.

A highlight was his long, bomb for birdie at the 15 hole, but the Australian was solid all day and made six birdies.

He almost drove the green and putted his eagle attempt to within 10 feet.

And while he was riding high, with three wins over the previous 10 months heading to Pebble in '05, this time around Mickelson is looking for his first victory since the 2013 British Open. On top of that, it is contested at three of the game's most cherished golf courses. The world's No. 1 golfer grew up with bowling and said he once had a chance at a ideal game.

Andrew (Beef) Johnston shot 73-76 to be 4 over, and missed the cut, which was par.

McIlroy's opening round 68 at Spyglass Hill had put him into a nice challenging position only for his second round travails at Monterrey Peninsula - signing for a 74 - to undo that initial good work.

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