Kurt Kitayama used his Northern California knowledge to get to the top of the leaderboard.
The 30-year-old Kitayama, who grew up in Chico, carded a two-under-par 70 at Pebble Beach Golf Links to take a one-stroke lead over Keith Mitchell, Joseph Bramlett, Brandon Wu and Hank Lebioda midway through the 82nd AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the Monterey Peninsula.
The weather turned rainy, windy and cold in round two and more of that is expected on the weekend.
“I grew up in NorCal, so I’ve played these courses before and been here many times,” said Kitayama, who has yet to win on the PGA Tour but has three pro victories playing around the world. “I’ve love Pebble Beach and tomorrow I get to play at Spyglass Hill, which can be difficult, but I’m looking forward to it. It’s just always nice to be here.
“I got off of a good start with some birdies on the front nine, but then things got more difficult on the back side, but I was able to stick with it. I just stayed patient and tried to get my birdies when I could. I’m just hoping to play well enough tomorrow to be in the hunt on Sunday.
“Today was really tough and the weekend could be more of the same.”
Kitayama made three birdies and his only bogey at No. 5 on the front nine at Pebble and then closed with 10 consecutive pars to finish with a 36-hole score of nine-under 134.
Wu, another Northern Californian from Danville and Stanford, shot 5-under-par 66 at Monterey Peninsula Country Club with three early birdies and three more, while Bramlett, from Palo Alto and Stanford, holed out for eagle at No. 6 in a 67 at Monterey Peninsula, while Mitchell had two birdies on each nine in a 68 at Monterey Peninsula, and first-round leader Lebioda had an even-par 72 at Pebble Beach.
“It was definitely a good round, even though I started with a bogey on my first hole (No. 10),” said Mitchell, who claimed his only PGA Tour victory in the 2009 Honda Classic. “I played great the rest of the way, even though I had a couple three putts for bogey. The greens were more difficult because of the rain and the wind.
“It was definitely tough out there with the weather, but I’m very happy with the way I played. It’s always fun to play here in the pro-am with a good group of guys and we had a lot of fun out there. It was another great day on a great golf course.”
Seamus Power of Ireland made four straight birdies on the front nine and an eagle at No. 16 in a seven-under 64 at Monterey Peninsula and is in a tie for sixth with Satoshi Kodaira of Japan, who birdied his last three holes in a 4-under 68 at Spyglass Hill Golf Course; Ryan Moore, who had five birdies in a 3-under 69 at Pebble; Scott Stallings, who made five birdies in a 70 at Pebble, and Eric Cole of Palm Springs, who made only one bogey in a 71 at Pebble Beach.
Defending champion Tom Hoge had three birdies and one bogey in a 2-under 70 at Spyglass Hill, while 10th-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England made three birdies on his front nine but struggled coming home with a bogey and double-bogey for a 1-under 70 at Monterey Peninsula.
Jason Rose of England hit the shot of the day with a hole-in-one from 130 yards on the 15th hole at Spyglass Hill and is in a tie for 11th after a 3-under 69.
“Any day you can make a hole in one, it’s a good day,” said Rose, who tied for third in the 2019 U.S. Open after taking the lead with an opening 65.
All golfers are playing Pebble Beach, Monterey Peninsula and Spyglass Hill over the first three rounds, and the final round will be played exclusively over the host Pebble Beach Golf Links, home of what once was the famed Crosby Clambake.
For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html