golf roundup

Andrew Loupe leads Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Patriots coach Bill Belichick stares down his second shot on the first hole at Pebble Beach.
christian petersen/getty images
Patriots coach Bill Belichick stared down his second shot on the first hole at Pebble Beach.

Andrew Loupe knows how one week can change everything. He can only hope his 8-under-par 63 in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in California is the start of another one.

Loupe had to wait three hours to tee off because of rain Thursday, and then he played bogey-free on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. That gave him the lowest score among those who finished their rounds.

Rain soaked the Monterey Peninsula in the morning, great news for an area desperate for rain, not so much for the tournament. Puddles quickly formed on the greens at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill, forcing play to be stopped on all three courses.


Monterey Peninsula played the easiest, and Loupe took advantage. He never had to scramble for par, missed only one fairway, and only two of his birdies were from more than 10 feet. This was his first trip to the area, and it was everything he imagined.

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‘‘This place is amazing,’’ Loupe said with a smile as wide as a fairway.

The 25-year-old from Louisiana hasn’t made the cut in five starts his rookie season. Loupe might not even have a PGA Tour card except for his tie for sixth in the last event of the Tour Finals. He had missed the cut in his previous three ‘‘Finals’’ event.

Stuart Appleby, Jim Renner, Richard Lee, and Scott Gardiner had 65s at Monterey Peninsula. Phil Mickelson, a four-time champion, was at 5 under par through 15 holes when the round was stopped because of darkness.

Pebble Beach played the toughest, though the weather was not nearly bad enough to make that much of a difference with only a cool breeze and no rain the rest of the day. Jimmy Walker, already a two-time winner this season, got up-and-down for birdie on the 18th for a 66, the best score at Pebble.


Jordan Spieth had the best round at Spyglass Hill at 67. He picked up birdies on all but one of the par 5s, stuffed one close on the uphill second hole, and escaped with par with a long pitch from short of the sixth green.

Dustin Johnson, a two-time winner of this event, had a 68 at Spyglass Hill.

Graeme McDowell, back at Pebble Beach the first time since he won the 2010 US Open, opened with a 71 at Spyglass Hill. He has to wait until Saturday to play Pebble Beach. Defending champion Brandt Snedeker had a 72 at Spyglass Hill.

European — Edoardo Molinari was in a four-way tie for the first-round lead at the Joburg Open with his 7-under-par 64 in Johannesburg.

The Italian, chasing a British Open place as well as his first title in four years, was joined by Scottish pair Alastair Forsyth and Craig Lee, and South African Justin Walters.


Molinari opened with three straight birdies at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington and collected eight in all on the par-71 West Course.

‘‘The front nine was probably as good as I've played in a long time,’’ he said.

Lee had maybe the most impressive start with his 7-under 65 on the tougher par-72 East Course, with eight birdies and just one bogey on No. 17.

‘‘It’s really hard to figure out where you are in the field with two golf courses, and with the East being slightly tougher I feel like I'm in a good position,’’ Lee said.

Forsyth and Walters both carded 64s on the West, with Forsyth not dropping a shot all day.

Competitors play one round on the East and West courses before finishing on the East over the weekend.

European LPGA — American Jessica Korda sustained her early-season form to share the lead with compatriot Katie Burnett after the first round of the Ladies Australian Masters at Gold Coast.

After winning the opening LPGA event in the Bahamas last week, the 20-year-old Korda carded eight birdies and three bogeys in a 5-under 68.

Korda and Burnett were a stroke ahead of Valentine Derrey of France, who finished with an eagle on 18 to card a 4-under 69, matched by American Cheyenne Woods, South Africans Stacey Lee Bregman and Lee-Anne Pace, and Canadian Lorie Kane.

Defending champion and eight-time tournament winner Karrie Webb of Austalia shot a first round 74; six shots off the pace.

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Tiger Woods is skipping the Match Play Championship in Arizona in two weeks.

Woods announced on his website that he wasn’t planning to compete in the first World Golf Championship. He says his plan was to attend the Sochi Olympics in Russia before his girlfriend and champion skier Lindsey Vonn got injured.

Instead, he will stay home and prepare for three tournaments in Florida. He’ll next play the Honda Classic on Feb. 27 followed by title defenses at Doral and Bay Hill.