Johnson, Goydos tied for Pebble lead
Dustin Johnson is powering his away around the Monterey Peninsula.
Paul Goydos is poking along. Two golfers who couldn’t be any more
different were tied for the lead Saturday in the Pebble Beach
Johnson reached the 595-yard opening hole at Spyglass Hill
with a hybrid and made a 20-foot eagle from the fringe to send him
on his way to an 8-under 64, despite a three-putt bogey on his
Goydos reached the 513-yard second hole with a 3-wood and
made an 8-foot eagle putt, then birdied two of the final three
holes for a 64 at Pebble Beach.
They were at 18-under 196 and were four shots clear of anyone
Johnson is leading the field this week in driving distance at
310.7 yards. Goydos, who is averaging 262.7 yards off the tee, was
asked if he would just ignore Johnson’s power off the tee.
“No, I fully panic,” Goydos said. “You know, it is what it
is. I don’t know if ‘ignore’ is the right word, but you appreciate.
I’m going to appreciate his play, but you go out and play your
game, too. I have do things differently than he does, and he’s got
to do things differently than I do.”
J.B. Holmes and Bryce Molder each had a 68 at Spyglass Hill,
while Matt Jones had a 66 on the Shore Course at Monterey
Peninsula. They were tied for third at 14-under 200.
David Duval had a 67 and was tied for seventh. Phil Mickelson
had a 69 at Pebble Beach and was eight shots out of the lead.
The biggest star Saturday was the weather, some of the most
spectacular conditions this tournament has seen in years. Along the
coast of Pebble Beach, huge swells crashed against the rocks and
the sea wall.
“The ocean was angry today,” Goydos said. “What they’ve got
here is God’s gift to golf.”
Goydos’ game isn’t always so pretty, although there is no
disputing how he reached the top of the leaderboard. On the par-5
sixth hole, his second shot from the rough barely cleared the hill
and nearly went into a bunker. With an awkward stance, he did well
to get it on the green. And after a two-putt par, he said to his
partners, “That never looked like it was going to be better than a
One hole later, with a stiff ocean breeze at his back and a
downhill shot to a green 97 yards away, he hit sand wedge to 2
Over at Spyglass, traditionally the toughest course on the
rotation, Johnson was wailing away. The defending champion had two
eagles and played the par 5s in 6-under, and he had a chance at the
course record of 62 until charging his birdie putt past the hole
and missing the comeback putt for par.
“Length is not an issue,” Johnson said. “Doesn’t play very
long for me. If I’m hitting it in the fairway, then it definitely
plays right into my hands, because I can get to all the par 5s
Asked which courses plays long for him, Johnson said with a
fixed smile, “Not too many of ’em.”
On this glorious day with a stiff breeze, Spyglass was the
place to be. Pebble Beach and the Shore Course at Monterey
Peninsula, a par 70 and newcomer to the rotation, are exposed along
the ocean. Except for five holes, Spyglass is sheltered by pines
Johnson and Goydos couldn’t recall playing with each other
before, and even if they did, it’s not as if they would have been
together given the difference in their tee shots.
But as much as Goydos appreciates the power, Johnson
appreciates how Goydos can score.
“His game is definitely a little bit different than mind, and
he finds a way to get it done,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t matter
how far you hit it or where you hit it. You’ve just got to find a
way to get it in the hole. Whoever can get it in the hole tomorrow
is going to come out with the victory.”
Few players are more self-deprecating than Goydos, notable
among other quotes for once saying, “Tiger is trying to win 18
majors. I’m trying to play in 18 majors.”
But he did well to hold his own when asked if Johnson was a
better player as they head into the final round.
“He’s won twice in two years. I’ve won twice in 18,” Goydos
said. “‘Better’ is an interesting word. He’s definitely off to a
much better start than I had. There’s a slight curve because I’ve
been out so long. So if he’d won 10 times after 18 years, the
answer is ‘yes.’ But right now? I don’t know.”
Then he paused before adding, “He’s definitely showing signs
Divots: Goydos and Hertz executive Bob Stuart had
a one-shot lead in the pro-am competition. The top 25 teams
advanced to the final round Sunday. … Johnson or Goydos only need
to break par on Sunday to break the 72-hole scoring record of 268,
first set by Mark O’Meara in 1997 and matched by Phil Mickelson in