Tom Hoge won once as a pro but has yet to break through on the PGA Tour and is hoping it might happen this week.
The 32-year-old Hoge posted a bogey-free 9-under-par 63 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in the first round to take a one-stroke lead over Seamus Power of Irleand in the 81st AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, once known as the Bing Crosby Clambake.
The standings are determined by strokes in relation to par in the first three rounds because Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill Golf Course play to a par of 72, while the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club is a par-71.
Each golfer in the field plays all three courses in the first three rounds before a 54-hole cut is made, and the final round is contested solely on the fabled Pebble Beach Golf Links.
“It’s hard to be in a bad mood out here,” said Hoge, who won the 2011 Candian Tour Players Cup for his only victory as a pro after winning six times as an amateur. “I mean, Pebble Beach and perfect weather is about as good as it gets.
“I was in the situation a couple weeks ago in Palm Springs—scores were a little bit better there—but you keep switching golf courses and you feel like you’ve got to keep making birdies the whole way because there’s a lot of great players out here. Conditions look pretty good for the weekend, so I know that I’ve got to keep moving forward.”
Hoge birdied six straight holes through the eighth hole while finishing on the front nine at Pebble.
Power birdied the last four holes of the front nine in a bogey-free 8-under-par 64 at Spyglass Hill, while Jonas Blixt of Sweden had five birdies on the back nine in a 7-under 64 at Monterey Peninsula and is tied for fourth with Austin Smotherman, who holed out from 67 yards for an eagle on the seventh hole in a 7-under 65 at Pebble.
“It’s always funny with the three courses,” said Power, who won the 2021 Barbasol Championship for his only PGA Tour victory. “It’s great to have a good start but you’re on to a completely different challenge. Tomorrow I’m playing Pebble and it’s going to be a completely different course to today. So, it kind of makes it easier to reset, and hopefully we can kind of keep doing the same thing tomorrow.”
Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA birdied the last three holes at Monterey Peninsula for a 6-under 65 and is tied for fifth with Andrew Putnam of Pepperdine, who had five birdies on the back nine in a another 6-under 65 at Monterey Peninsula.
David Lipsky of Los Angeles carded a 5-under-par 67 at Pebble Beach, and is tied for seventh with Sean O’Hair and Scott Stallings, who also had 67s at Pebble, in addition to Doc Redman, Jonathan Byrd, Austin Eckroat, Bill Haas and Ryan Moore, who all shot 5-under 66 at Monterey Peninsula.
Among the big-name favorites, Jason Day of Australia is tied for 15th after a 4-under-par 68 at Pebble Beach, 2017 Pebble Beach champion Jordan Spieth shot 3-under-par 68 at Monterey Peninsula and is tied for 33rd, and Justin Rose of England is tied for 74th after a 70 at Monterey Peninsula.
Defending champion Daniel Berger was forced to withdraw because of a back injury after Will Zalatoris, the 2021 PGA Tour Rookie if the Year, withdrew earlier in the week after he tested positive for Covid-19.
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