After Jimmy Walker took a seemingly commanding lead into Sunday at the AT&T National Pro-Am, he turned the blustery, star-studded tournament into a knee-buckler in the end.
Walker, who was six ahead of the pack when the day started, had to make a squirrely five-footer on 18 to preserve his tour-leading third victory of the season.
As usual, the stars were out and having a great time. If we told you that Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers were gathered together, you might think it was for a NFL doubleheader. While the four vaunted quarterbacks played separately at Pebble Beach, it would have made for one heck of a foursome.
As is typical this time of year on the picturesque Northern California coast, the wind howled and the rain fell, but, after a brief Saturday respite, the golf resumed.
The rejuvenated Walker was chased by an array of golfers including previous multitourney winners Phil Mickelson (three) and Dustin Johnson (two), wannabes Jordan Spieth and Hunter Mahan and some newbies like Richard H. Lee, Jim Renner and Tim Wilkinson.
Late Sunday, Renner and John Harkey Jr. edged Rory Sabbatini and Blake Mycoskie for the pro-am title at -31.
Although everyone’s favorite golf clown Bill Murray wasn't on hand to lighten things up, the event had its shares of winners and losers.
One great thing about the AT&T is how it humbles even the biggest stars.
The fans got a chance to glimpse Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and a bunch of their favorite movie and television stars and singers hack their way around the course. Some funny, some bad and, yes, even some great golf emerged.
Coming off a disappointing Super Bowl loss, the always gentlemanly Manning made an appearance and showed a deft short game.
Guess his neck and his ego are feeling just fine.
No matter how much you prepare for it, the weather at Pebble Beach in February is bound to blow you away.
That is what happened Saturday, when winds gusted up to 40 mph and caused balls to roll around the greens while testing the strength of the flags and the mettle of the golfers.
The two-hour delay impacted most scores, other than that of winner Jimmy Walker, who played through the wind to log a commanding 67.
A lesser player would have succumbed to a third-round score of five over par. But not the persistent 20-year-old in search of his second tour victory.
Spieth was right there after two rounds, but then blew up on Saturday, posting an abnormal 77.
He then scorched the field Sunday with his third 67 of the tournament and tied for fourth.
Last year’s winner seems to have lost his mojo.
This is the second cut he has missed in the last three events, and he has no top-10 finishes yet this season.
It may be hard to pinpoint the problem but where he was fourth in strokes gained-putting last year, he now ranks 56th. Unless he gets his flat stick straightened out, it may be a long season.
To give you a little perspective, coming into the AT&T, Renner played in four PGA events this season and missed all four cuts.
Consider Pebble Beach his coming-out party, as he rocketed to a tie for second place with Dustin Johnson. His Sunday 67, in fact, was second to Johnson for best score of the day.
Renner is a strapping 6'1", 210-pound guy from Boston who made a nice mark in a prominent tournament.
It will be interesting to see how the 30-yar-old rookie does this year.
The streaky and always competitive Australian started off with a tidy 68, but then somehow ballooned to a 77 on the second day.
While he made the cut, he was way off the pace in a tie for 64th and did not finish.
McDowell emerged from the pine trees and went five under on Sunday to surge into a tie for sixth.
McDowell, you may remember, won the 2010 U.S. Open here. But, he has only one win on the PGA Tour since. Perhaps this a sign of things to come for McDowell, who had only four top-10 finishes last year.
Points was disqualified after the second round when it was found he broke a key rule of play by using a training aid during a back-up on the 18th tee.
While playing with pro-am partner Condoleezza Rice, Points violated Rule 14-3 when he pulled from his bag a spongy green ball and placed it under his right arm to practice a few swings.
He was under par for the tournament when it happened.
Johnson absolutely brought Pebble Beach to its knees, and almost Jimmy Walker, by shooting back-to-back 33s for a fantastic 66 that pushed him into second place Sunday.
Johnson, who won the event in 2009 and 2010, had three bogies and still shot six under for the day.
The long-hitting Johnson has everything it takes to win a major and this kind of effort will surely boost his confidence going forward.
Come on, Phil.
Mickelson started the final day at minus five with a real chance to make up some ground on the leaders. He may not have had a chance for a victory, but with his course knowledge could have definitely put himself in the top three.
Instead, he wavered in the wind, posting a two-over 74 and ending up in a tie for 19th.