Appearing to rekindle some of the form that led to two early-season victories in 2012, Hunter Mahan fired a 6-under 66 Thursday at Pebble Beach, good enough for a share of the first-round lead alongside Russell Knox.
Playing the host course in his opening round, Mahan carded seven birdies against just a single bogey, carrying forward the momentum from back-to-back top-20 finishes over the last two weeks. In only his second start of the 2013 season, Knox managed eight birdies against a pair of bogeys at the shorter, par-70 Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
The duo lead by one shot over a large group of players at 5 under, one that includes Matt Every, who tied for ninth last week in Phoenix, and Seung-Yul Noh, whose 5-under 67 was the low round of the day at Spyglass Hill. Making his first PGA Tour start of 2013, Lee Westwood headlines the group at 4 under, two shots off the pace.
After a dominating performance en route to a win last week at TPC Scottsdale, Phil Mickelson began his quest for back-to-back Pebble Beach titles with a 1-under 69 at Monterey Peninsula. Mickelson started his round 3 under after 10 holes, but fell back following a pair of back-nine bogeys as he looks to join Mark O'Meara as the only 5-time champions of this event.
Making an appearance this week while rumors of a possible suspension continue to swirl, Vijay Singh carded an even-par 72 at Pebble Beach. Having withdrawn from last week's event in Phoenix after reports surfaced that the Fijian used a deer antler spray containing a banned substance, he opted to remain in the field for this week's event, one that he won in 2004 and finished runner-up on three other occasions.
Playing alongside amateur partner Wayne Gretzky, two-time AT&T champion Dustin Johnson struggled during his opening round at Monterey Peninsula. Four birdies were wiped away by a pair of double bogeys, and three more bogeys yielded a 3-over 73 Thursday. He was joined at 3 over by former U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk, who began his first start of the season with a less-than-scintillating 3-over 75 at Spyglass Hill.