Sat, Feb 11, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Luke Donald ties course record on Spyglass Hill


Luke Donald after sinking a birdie putt on the 9th hole to finish 10 under, tying a course record held by Phil Mickelson, at Spyglass Hill golf course during the Pebble Beach National Pro Am in Monterey, California, on Thursday.


Luke Donald matched Phil Mickelson's course-record 10-under 62 on Spyglass Hill on Thursday and took a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Taking advantage of weather that approached perfection, Donald holed out for eagle from 96 yards, strung together birdies and wound up matching Mickelson's feat a year after the American accomplished it.

"It only took 365 days," Donald said. "I'm glad it was me."

Traditionally the toughest among the three courses at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Spyglass played as the easiest Thursday with an average score of 70.48. Dating to 2000, Spyglass has never had an average score under par.

After missing a 10-foot birdie putt on his opening hole, No. 10, Donald ran off three straight birdies, one of those a 45-foot putt on the par-3 12th. Then came his sand wedge from 96 yards to a hole location on the front shelf of the green that dropped for eagle, and another birdie on the 15th.

"Not much was going wrong," Donald said. "I didn't really threaten to make bogey today and kept it in play."

Donald's efforts however left him only one stroke ahead of Canadian Mike Weir, who recovered from a sloppy start to make five straight birdies along Stillwater Cove. He missed only one fairway and two greens, and the only thing he didn't get with a 63 was the lead.

"I knew there was going to be some low scores today," Weir said. "But 10 under at Spyglass? I thought of the lower scores, there might be more on this golf course than the other two. But Luke obviously played a great round over at Spyglass to do that."

The low score at Poppy Hills, usually the easiest of the three courses because it has five par 5s, came from Arron Oberholser. He responded to back-to-back bogeys with laughter, then ran off four birdies over his next five holes and finished with a 7-under 65.

He was joined by Michael Allen (Spyglass) and Nick Watney (Pebble Beach).

Mickelson, meanwhile, finished birdie-birdie-eagle for a 67 and was tied for 10th.

More than 100 players in the 180-man field broke par, meaning Donald had plenty of work left the rest of the week.

"With the conditions, all the courses are there to make some birdies," Donald said. "I think the scoring is going to be good this week if the weather stays like this. Sixty-two is a great start, but it's not like the tournament is over. I have to keep playing solid golf."

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