Hicks closes with eagle for share of Pebble Beach lead

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 12, 2015 7:23 PM

(Reuters) - Unheralded American Justin Hicks eagled his final hole to equal a career-low round and join compatriot J.B. Holmes at the top of a crowded leaderboard after the opening round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Thursday.

Hicks reached the green of the 533-yard par-five 18th in two shots before rolling in an 18-foot putt for an eight-under-par 64, two shots ahead of a group of six golfers that included John Daly, Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker.

The 40-year-old Hicks arrived at the 18th enjoying a bogey-free round that included three birdies on both the front and back nines.

Holmes, coming off a playoff loss on Sunday at Torrey Pines, began his round on the back nine and took advantage of ideal conditions at Pebble Beach with an eagle two at the at the 10th hole followed by a birdie at the par-four 11th.

The long-hitting American gave one stroke back at the par-three 12th but went on to card six birdies during a scorching 10-hole stretch from the 16th.

Twice major winner Daly birdied his final hole to card a seven-under 65 that was his lowest opening round on tour since 2005. Also at seven-under were Americans J.J. Henry, Chesson Hadley and Dudley Hart.

Australian world number four Jason Day, the highest-ranked player in the field, was unable to extend any momentum from Sunday's win at the Farmers Insurance Open after a four-man sudden-death playoff.

Day was eight shots off the pace after an erratic even-par 72 that included two double-bogeys.

Defending champion Jimmy Walker was also at even-par after mixing a pair of bogeys with two birdies.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto. Editing by Patrick Johnston)