Love Conquers Pebble Beach Again


It wasnt easy, but it rarely is for Davis Love III on Sunday.
Love blew a three-shot lead on the back nine, only to birdie the final hole for his second career title at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Love two-putted the par-5 18th for a one-stroke victory over Tom Lehman. Love shot 4-under 68 to finish at 14-under-par 274.
Lehman, who shot 67, made a late run to catch Love. He birdied the par-3 17th to tie for the lead, but missed a six-foot birdie at the last.
Love hit the longest drive of the day at 18 ' 316 yards ' and then smoked a 220-yard 4-iron that finished within 12 feet of the hole. He knocked his first putt three feet past and quickly converted the winner.
Winning here is special, but a win for me after two years of coming close and not being 100 percent physically, its a big win for me, said Love, who captured his first PGA Tour victory since snapping another two-year winless drought at this event in 2001.
Love earned a career-best $900,000 for his 15th career PGA Tour victory.
But while Love had celebrated victory since 1998, he was 0-for-6 over the last five years in trying to convert a 54-hole lead into victory.
He started the day leading by two, but quickly relinquished that advantage by bogeying two of his first three holes.
The start was a dramatic departure from two years ago, when he turned in 28 en route to shooting 63 and overcoming a seven-stroke deficit.
It was a lot tougher day this time, even coming form seven back, Love said. I was awful nervous.
Loves nerves settled a bit with a birdie at the par-5 sixth. He then reclaimed control over an improbable stretch of holes.
Love birdied the coastal holes, 8-10, to regain a one-shot lead at 11-under. The birdie at the par-4 ninth came courtesy of an immaculate 25-footer that broke heavily from right to left.
Luck was on Loves side as well. His tee shot on the par-3 12th bounced over the green, only to hit the foot of a photographer and kick back within four feet of the hole.
Nice job, he joked to the cameraman before making the putt and giving him the golf ball.
Leading Mike Weir by one, Love made his sixth birdie in an eight-hole stretch at the 13th to move two clear.
Weir was unable to keep pace on the back nine, making seven straight pars before birdieing the last. He was trying to become the first player to win the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and Pebble Beach ' both of which use the pro-am format ' in the same season, let alone in back-to-back weeks.
Weir shot 68 to tie last weeks victim, Tim Herron (66), for third at 12-under.
Lehmans rally came late. He birdied four of his first five holes on the back to get within two of the lead, and soon found himself tied at the top.
Lehman birdied the 17th from 18 feet, while Love bogeyed the par-4 16th after hitting an iron off the tee into a fairway bunker.
Love almost dropped another shot at the penultimate hole, but his eight-foot par putt dropped in the hole after hanging on the lip.
Lehman, winless on tour since the 2000 Phoenix Open, was in good position to birdie the last. He hit a phenomenal pitch shot from right of the green within five feet of the hole.
He ran the putt through the break, however, to set up Loves winning opportunity.
''I feel like my game is the best it's been in a long time,'' said Lehman. ''I really am hitting the ball more like I used to. It became quite evident to me at the beginning of the season that if I start making a few putts, I'm going to be a factor in some tournaments this year.''
Phil Mickelson shot 8-over 80 to finish in last place.
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • Full coverage of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am