Golf: Unheralded Reavie leads at Pebble Beach as world No. 1 Spieth struggles with short game

Chez Reavie plays his tee shot on the 13th hole at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Feb 11, 2016.
Chez Reavie plays his tee shot on the 13th hole at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Feb 11, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

PEBBLE BEACH (REUTERS) - American golfer Chez Reavie rebounded superbly from missed cuts in his last two PGA Tour starts to fire an eight-under 63 and grab a one-shot lead in the opening round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Thursday.

While some of the biggest names in the game battled hard to post sub-par scores, he covered his final nine holes in a sizzling seven-under 30 at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, the easiest of the three venues being used for this week's event.

That left Reavie, whose only PGA Tour victory came at the 2008 Canadian Open, one stroke in front of Australian Cameron Smith and American Bronson Burgoon, who also played at Monterey Peninsula, after a picture-postcard day of unbroken sunshine.

Swede Freddie Jacobson had the best score at the Pebble Beach host course, a seven-under 65, while Englishman Justin Rose and American J.B. Holmes were best at Spyglass Hill, with six-under 66.

World No. 1 Jordan Spieth, back on the PGA Tour after playing tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Singapore, struggled with his short game as he mixed four birdies with three bogeys for an opening 71 on the challenging Spyglass Hill layout.

"I played the hardest holes on this golf course in four under par and then I played all the easy ones over par," Spieth, 22, told Golf Channel. "It's kind of a bit odd.

"I'm just not quite dialled in with my wedges or with the short game right now. I had three (birdie) chances on par-fives greenside, just little chip shots, basic shots, and I made par as well as bogeying that 115-yard par-three.

"So a little frustrating with that but, all in all, to actually shoot one under with what I felt like I should have shot today is promising, considering we are going to the two easier courses, in my mind."

Australian world No. 3 Jason Day also had to fight hard as he matched Spieth with a 71 at Spyglass Hill.

"It's a little frustrating," said Day, who birdied two of his last six holes to finish the round with something of a flourish.

"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.

"I feel okay with how I am driving it. I feel like it's really close. Once I start getting that control back in the swing and I start gaining a little bit more confidence, then hopefully from there I will start playing a little better."