RODGERS WINS THE PRO-AM AT PEBBLE
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers finally gets his name on the Wall of Champions behind the first tee at Pebble Beach, joining a long list that includes Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
Fellow Chico High grad Kurt Kitayama was tied for 29th in the PGA Tour event at the print deadline, with the rest of the tounament set to be played on Monday.
Justin Rose would love nothing better than to be on an adjacent plaque for winning the PGA Tour event at Pebble.
Rose, whose third round was suspended by wind strong enough to blow his golf ball across the green, returned Sunday morning at Monterey Peninsula by playing 10 holes in 6 under for a 65 that gave him a one-shot lead in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
The final round was to start Sunday afternoon, featuring only professionals, and there was no way for the tournament to finish until Monday.
The only champions crowned Sunday were Rodgers and Ben Silverman of Canada, who held on for a one-shot victory in the pro-am portion of the event. The prize is their name listed on the wall, which features pro-am winners, tournament winners, USGA champions at Pebble and more.
“It's really significant,” Rodgers said, whose Packers failed to reach the NFL playoffs for only the fourth time in his 15 years as the starter. “It's always been on my bucket list.”
Rodgers did his share of heavy lifting. Silverman, coming off a Korn Ferry Tour win, finished at 1-over 216 and missed the cut. Rodgers, playing off a 10 handicap, said he had not played golf since training camp until last Monday.
They finished at 26-under par, one shot ahead of Peter Malnati and Don Colleran, the retired president and CEO of FedEx whose name already is on the wall.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Keith Mitchell were four behind. Minus the weather, the leading 25 pro-am teams would have played Sunday afternoon.
“Josh Allen was telling me there's going to be an asterisk by this win because there was only three rounds,” Rodgers said. “But I think our names are going to be up there for a long time.”
After a wild week of weather, the final round features everyone on the same course at Pebble Beach in roughly similar conditions. It still feels more like a marathon than a sprint because it will be played over two days.
Rose was simply happy to be there. This is his first 54-hole lead since he won at Torrey Pines four years ago, though his form has been trending upward toward the end of last year and early into 2023.
He was at 12-under 203.
“The morning couldn't have gone better,” Rose said, whose 10 holes were punctuated by an eagle on the par-5 16th.
In the three hours it took to finish the third round, there was wind and rain, and then hail over at Monterey Peninsula, followed by sunshine.
Malnati had a 67 at Pebble, having avoided the holes most exposed to the wind when it turned nasty on Saturday, and Kurt Kitayama had a 70 at Spyglass Hill. They were one shot behind.
Mitchell's pitch over a bunker and across the 18th green at Pebble hit the hole with too much pace. He would have tied Rose had it dropped. Instead, the ball settled 7 feet away and he missed that to make par for a 70, leaving him two shots behind.
Rose was in the middle of the stoppage Saturday.
The ninth hole bends back toward the ocean with nothing to block the wind, and the former U.S. Open champion had to hit 5-wood to get to the green. It was a magnificent shot to 3 feet. But he said when he reached the green, a gust knocked his ball 7 feet away before he had a chance to mark it.
That's when rules officials conferred and suspended play on all three courses — the wind is not as big of a problem on tree-lined Spyglass Hill. Rose returned and holed the birdie putt on No. 9 and was on his way.
Eight players were within three shots of the lead, a list that included Viktor Hovland. He's playing the tournament for the first time, but his last two trips to Pebble have worked out well. He won the U.S. Amateur in 2018 and was low amateur in the 2019 U.S. Open.
The difference between then and now was mostly about the apparel. There was no need for three layers of clothes and a wool cap in June or August. And those USGA rounds went a little quicker.