Even with three birdies at the end of his second round that led to a five-under-par 67, Mike Weir knows what awaits him in the third round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and he is not looking forward to it.
Spyglass Hill is one of the three golf courses used in the tournament’s rotation and in the past it has played a big part in why Weir has not won this event.
He is at 14-under 130 after two rounds and has a three-shot lead over Arron Oberholser, but Spyglass hangs over him like an albatross.
“I have not played Spyglass as well as the other two, that’s for sure,” Weir said. “I need to play Spyglass well this week. Hopefully I can do it.”
The one time Weir did play it well, he was disappointed he did not win the event. In 2003, he shot a 67 at the course that traditionally plays the most difficult of the three, but faltered the next day at Pebble Beach, shooting 74. He finished tied for third. It is one of five top-10 finishes he has had.
“Even though I finished second last year, I think ’03 was the year I had a really good chance,” Weir said. “I felt like I got a few things that did not go my way the last nine holes. I really had a good chance.”
Weir is certainly in control going into the third round and has the positive momentum of the three consecutive birdies to finish his round. Weir had the lead before the birdies, but added some cushion. He made a six-foot putt at the seventh, a 40-foot putt at the eighth and nearly made eagle on the last hole when his 25-foot putt just missed.
That success, he hopes, may override his negative memories over Spyglass.
“It helps psychologically,” said Weir, who has played nine of his last 14 rounds in the 60s at this event. “The more good rounds you play on a golf course, the more good memories you have to draw upon when you need to.”
Not helping Weir though is the weather, which has made Spyglass much more difficult compared to the first round. On Thursday when the temperature was in the mid-70s, the average score was 70.48. Yesterday with the fog rolling in and the temperature 10 degrees cooler, the scoring average was 72.46.
“It changed real quickly from feeling like Palm Springs to what we are typically used to here,” Weir said. “I could not believe how much the temperature dropped and how much it really affected the ball flight.”
Oberholser was one of those at Spyglass and was amazed he shot a 68, the second best score of the day at the course.
“I got it done a little bit with smoke and mirrors,” Oberholser said. “I was able to just kind of get it around.”
While he was not as sharp as he was when he shot a 65 the day before at Poppy Hills, the cooler weather was definitely a factor.
“It changed a lot,” Oberholser said. “I knew the fog was coming, it was just a matter of when. I was kind of prepared for it.”
Jonathan Byrd shot a seven-under 65 at Pebble Beach and is tied for third with Luke Donald and Fredrik Jacobson at 10 under.
Byrd was playing Pebble Beach, that had the same weather but with no wind put up little defence. Byrd took advantage of it. His 65 tied for the low round of the day. US Ryder Cup Captain, Tom Lehman also shot 65 and is tied for 11th.
Pebble Beach is the closest to the coast of the three courses and Byrd began his round in benign conditions, but it changed quickly.
“I thought it was going to be a scorcher again,” Byrd said. “But that fog rolled in and we probably should not have hit a couple of shots out there. We should have probably waited.”
Defending champion Phil Mickelson struggled at Spyglass Hill, shooting a two-over-par 74 and dropped to three under for the event, 11 shots behind Weir.
Paul McGinley is best place of the Irish, tied for 31st at five under.