Streelman, Hossler share Pebble Beach lead

SAN FRANCISCO — World No. 1 Dustin Johnson got off to a hot start, but it was Kevin Streelman and Beau Hossler who shared the first-round lead on seven-under par Thursday at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Streelman had seven birdies without a bogey in his 65 at par-72 Spyglass Hill, one of three courses in use for the tournament. Hossler nabbed seven birdies at par-72 Pebble Beach Golf Links. Matt Kuchar and Julian Suri were in a three-way tie for third after posting matching 66s at Spyglass Hill, with Aaron Mise also getting to six-under at the par-71 Monterey Peninsula.

"Getting out first was nice," said Streelman, a two-time winner on the US PGA Tour who hit 12 of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens — and managed to get up and down at all seven of the greens he missed. "Drove it nice and put it on the greens and made a lot of putts."

Hossler, 22, said his day was "for the most part stress-free". "I hit a lot of greens, had a lot of pretty good looks at birdie," Hossler said. "I stuck to a relatively conservative game plan but was able to get a couple of long putts to go in at the end."

Johnson, winner of the event in 2009 and 2010, birdied five of his first 11 holes at Spyglass, finishing with six birdies and a bogey in a five-under 67 that left him two shots off the lead.

The world No. 1, playing his first US PGA Tour event since winning the Tournament of Champions last month, played alongside defending champion Jordan Spieth, who had one birdie and one bogey in an even par 72 that left him well off the pace in a tie for 98th place.

Northern Ireland's world No. 8 Rory McIlroy had six birdies and two bogeys in his four-under 68 at Spyglass.

McIlroy is making his first appearance in the tournament in which celebrity and corporate executive amateurs play alongside the pros. He teed it up with his father, Gerry McIlroy, and called the experience "awesome".

They played in a group with five-time major-winner Phil Mickelson, who made the turn two-over after three bogeys and a birdie on the front nine, but birdied five of his last eight en route to a three-under 69.

Celebrity participants like actor Bill Murray, ice hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and World Series-winning Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander give the Pro-Am it's unique, festive flavor.

But plenty of serious golf business remains, including world No. 2 Jon Rahm's bid to overtake Johnson atop the world rankings. Spain's Rahm played Monterey Peninsula on Thursday and birdied his last three holes to sign for a four-under par 67.

Westwood joins lead at Perth

Former world No. 1 Lee Westwood and defending champion Brett Rumford continued to lead the way at the $1.75m Handa Super 6 in Perth on Friday. The pair will play together for a third day in a row on Saturday after sharing the lead at the end of the second round at eight under.

They were one stroke ahead of four players on seven under — Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen, Australian Lucas Herbert, Scotland's Grant Forrest and Thailand's Prom Meesawat. Meesawat was joint leader until the 18th, which he bogeyed.

In challenging conditions Westwood shot a two-under 70 to join Rumford, who couldn't replicate his first round of 64 and shot 72, in the lead. The Brit, who chipped in on the fourth and sixth holes, said the wind made low scoring difficult.

Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat started brilliantly as one of the early groups on the course and briefly held the lead when he moved to nine under. However, four bogeys in a row on the back nine saw him drop back to finish at five under.

Aphibarnrat's countryman Pavit Tangkamolprasert provided the day's highlight with a hole-in-one on the 17th on his way to being three under. Local amateur Minn Woo Lee is also well-placed to reach the final day, the 19-year-old shooting 70 to be five under.

However, two of the biggest names in the tournament failed to make the cut. The 2016 US Masters champion Danny Willett was unable to recover from his opening round 76 and shot a 75 on day two to finish seven over as his recent form woes continued, missing his third successive cut.

Fellow Englishman Andrew 'Beef' Johnston also struggled in the warm conditions, the world number 161 shooting a 76 on the second day to be five over. Johnston started the tournament with an eagle on the first hole and barely fired a shot from there, his fate sealed when he had four bogeys in five holes on Friday. — AFP