Taylor grabs Pebble Beach Pro-Am lead

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Canada’s Nick Taylor launched his round with an eagle and capped it with two birdies to seize the first-round lead in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am yesterday with an eight-under par 63.

Taylor, chasing his second US PGA Tour title, didn’t put a foot wrong on the par-71 Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula, one of three in use over the first three rounds along with the par-72 Pebble Beach Golf Links and par-72 Spyglass Hill.

“I drove it really nice today,” Taylor said. “Obviously, playing 10 it’s a gettable par-five to start the day.

“So hit two great shots there (to) about four feet, I made eagle, so it was a nice start.

“And then I think I almost hit every fairway today, so I really had good numbers coming into a lot of greens, had chances, made some nice putts in the middle of my round to kind of keep it going and finished two great shots, a five-iron and three-iron on the last two holes to set up two birdies there.

“So tee to green was great and made some putts.”

Americans Patrick Cantlay and Chase Seiffert shared second on six-under.

Cantlay had nine birdies at Spyglass Hill and was more than satisfied despite three bogeys.

“I drove the ball well. I had a lot of short irons coming into the greens,” he said. “I played the par-5s good on the front and then made that bogey there on 14 and got a little mud. But all in all, played really well, made some putts, and I’m really happy with the start.”

Seiffert had an eagle and four birdies in a bogey-free effort at Pebble Beach, where the tournament concludes tomorrow.

A group of eight players on five-under included Charley Hoffman, who holed out from the fairway for an eagle at the fourth hole at Spyglass Hill.

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson opened his title defense with a four-under 68 at Spyglass Hill.

Mickelson surged into contention with three birdies to end his round, although after failing to birdie any of the par-fives he departed with regrets.