Reavie sizzles as Day and Spieth struggle

LOS ANGELES • Suffering from injuries has become a thing of the past for Chez Reavie.

The American is finally healthy and he proved that by firing an eight-under 63 on Thursday to upstage Major champions Jordan Spieth and Jason Day in the first round of the PGA Tour Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

The 34-year-old, who won his lone Tour title at the 2008 Canadian Open, missed the entire 2013-14 season because of a nagging wrist injury.

While he returned to action last season, he was unable to retain his playing status and had to head to Web.com Tour Finals to earn back his card. That demotion, however, proved fortuitous as he won the money race over the four-event series, securing his card for this season.

"It ended up being a great thing," Reavie said. "I was playing well and built some confidence. I won a tournament, almost won the (Web.com) Tour Championship and got full status back out here."

On Thursday, he fired an eagle and seven birdies with one bogey on the par-71 Monterey Peninsula course, one of three in use for the tournament along with Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill - both par-72 layouts.

He covered his final nine holes in a sizzling seven-under 30 on the Monterey course, the easiest of the three venues.

World No. 1 Spieth, winner of the Masters and US Open last year, opened with a one-under 71 at Spyglass Hill, as did PGA Championship winner Day of Australia.

"A bit weak," was Spieth's assessment of his round, which included four birdies and three bogeys.

The American said a shaky short game led to setbacks on some of the course's easier holes. "I played the hardest holes on this golf course four under par," he said.

"And then I played all the easy ones over par... I'm not quite dialled in with my wedges or with the short game right now."

Nevertheless, he said he was not discouraged, with the two courses he considers easier coming up in the rotation in an event in which professionals play alongside celebrity amateurs in the opening rounds.

"To actually shoot one under with what I felt like I should have shot today is promising," he said.

Day teed off on No. 10 at Spyglass and had three bogeys and two birdies in his first nine holes.

He managed to get under par for the day with two birdies coming in. "It's a little frustrating," he said.

"I feel like I am hitting the ball pretty good and then I stand over some shots and I just don't quite have the control that I would like to have."

Sweden's Freddie Jacobson collected five birdies in one six-hole stretch at Pebble Beach and added two more for a seven-under 65 and a share of second place.

He was joined at seven under by Australian Cameron Smith and American Bronson Burgoon, who both shot 64 at Monterey Peninsula.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2016, with the headline 'Reavie sizzles as Day and Spieth struggle'. Print Edition | Subscribe