Bettencourt tied for lead at Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational

by Jerry Stewart - courtesy Monterey Herald


That was the word most uttered by players after a dose of Crosby Weather descended on Friday's second round of the 38th annual Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational.

With winds whipping at times up to 40 mph and rain, only six players out of the field of 75 broke par. On the flipside, 17 players shot 80 or higher.

Among those walking away as somewhat survivors were PGA Tour member D.A. Points and 2009 PGA Tour rookie Matt Bettencourt. Points, who finished 66th on this year's money list, shot a 2-under 70 at Del Monte Golf Course. Bettencourt, who's making his Invitational debut, had a 1-under 71 at Spyglass Hill to forge a tie atop the leaderboard with a two-day total of 6-under 138.

"It was the toughest that I've ever seen Spyglass," said Bettencourt, who regularly played the course back in 2001 and 2002 while competing as an amateur in Northern California Golf Association events. "It was simply nasty."

Despite the conditions, Bettencourt, who earned his 2009 PGA Tour card after winning the 2008 Nationwide Tour Championship, hit 16 greens in regulation, leading to four birdies and only three bogeys.

The Modesto native's biggest shot came on No. 13, where he laced an 8-iron to within two feet of the pin.

"The key for me was ball striking," said Bettencourt, who in both 2001 and 2002 earned NCGA Player of the Year honors. "I'm also very familiar with these courses. Having played amateur golf for 10 years, it's like I grew up on them."

In Points' case, his round was as crazy as the weather. Coming off a tie for seventh at last week's Children's Miracle Network Classic, Points' back-nine included a birdie on the 10th, eagles at No. 13 and No. 17 and a triple-bogey on No.15.

"I had the most fortunate tee time (8:34 a.m.) of the tournament and the most unusual round," Points said.

A stroke behind the two leaders at 139 are Champions Tour member Jim Thorpe and 2009 Nationwide Tour member Craig Bowden.

Bowden, who re-earned his PGA Tour status for 2010 after finishing 22nd on the Nationwide Tour's money list, shot a day-low 68 at Del Monte. Thorpe had a 72 at Spyglass Hill.

"It got tough today. From No. 1 to No. 18, it was tough," said Thorpe, who in his nearly 30-year career has seen a lot. "Spyglass is one of the toughest courses you can play on any day. When the conditions are like they were today, it's extremely tough. You couldn't keep anything on the greens."

Also moving up the leader board were two-time Invitational winner and former PGA Championship winner Mark Brooks and 2009 FedEx Playoffs rookie Bryce Molder. Brooks shot 70 at Del Monte and Molder had a day-low 71 at Spyglass.

Six players are at 142 including co-first round leader Olin Browne, who had a 76 at Spyglass, and Rickie Fowler, who shot 74 at Pebble Beach Golf Links. John Cook, the other co-leader coming in, shot 77 at Spyglass.

Locally, Monterey native and 2010 LPGA rookie Mina Harigae remained in the mix at 144 after a 74 at Del Monte. Rob Grube is also within striking distance at 145 following a 74 at Spyglass.

Two-time defending champion Tommy Armour is at 151 after an 80 at Spyglass.

With Pebble Beach's primary defense — wind — on alert, the course played extremely difficult. On the 106-yard par-3 No. 7, more than a few players hit 5-iron or 6-iron. The low round of the day at Pebble Beach was a 72 by 2008 Gateway Tour member Mark Murphy.

Feeling the bite of Pebble, on the other hand, was club pro Tad Weeks. Weeks, who shot 92, carded three straight double-bogeys through Pebble's Cliffs of Doom (No. 8-No. 10).

Today's third round tees off at all three courses at 8 a.m. Admission is free.

Herald correspondent Jerry Stewart can be reached at 384-7916 or at jerry_stewart@sbcglobal.net.

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amateurgolf.com Note:
Want to play Callaway Invitational course Del Monte, as well as the "poor man's Pebble Beach" also known as Pacific Grove Golf Links? Enter the Christmas Classic on December 5-6. We'll probably get good weather but even if we don't, you'll find out a lot about the state of your game! There are just a few spots available that you can register for at: www.amateurgolf.com/tour.

ABOUT THE TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational

Founded in 1972, the Taylormade Pebble Beach Invitational has long claimed a unique mantle as the world's only tournament that matches players from the PGA, the LPGA, the Champions, and Nationwide Tours in head-to-head competition for the same purse – and also matches teams of four amateurs with a different pro each day. 2015 sponsor changed from Callaway to TaylorMade.

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