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Sutherland Leads at Pebble Beach

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Kevin Sutherland fired a 6-under 66 Thursday to take the first-round lead at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He leads Bob Hope Classic winner Mike Weir and Robert Gamez by one shot.
 
Phil Tataurangi, Willie Wood, Tommy Armour III, Jason Caron, Marco Dawson, Ken Green, Donnie Hammond, Greg Kraft and Tom Lehman were tied for fourth at 4-under-par 68.
 
Sutherland started on the front nine of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of three courses being used for the tournament. He birdied his first two holes and four of his first six to quickly move to 4-under. He drained a 15-foot putt on the sixth to recover from a poor chip and birdied the par-5.
 
The 39-year-old carded his final birdie of the front side at the ninth to make the turn at minus-5. Sutherland, however, missed a chance for birdie at the 10th.
 
'That was definitely nice,' said Sutherland of his fast start. 'Eight through 10 can kind of set the tone for the rest of the round, and I was able to kind of cruise right on through those and play those very well.'
 
Sutherland continued his roll on 11 when he rolled in a four-footer. His only mistake of the day came at the 16th. His drive ended in a divot in the fairway and he tried to hit a 7-iron, but made a poor swing at it.
 
He responded with a final birdie at the par-5 18th. Sutherland was able to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker with a six-foot birdie putt to finish out the round of 66. He has now shot par or better in his first 12 rounds this season.
 
'I would say I am not a good front-runner, being that I have only won one tournament,' said Sutherland, whose lone victory was at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last year. 'Being the front-runner the first week, the first round of a four-round tournament, it's nice. But in the big scheme, I am not sure how really important it is.'
 
Gamez got a huge boost around the turn. He started on the back nine at Poppy Hills and posted birdies at 10 and 15. Gamez faltered with a three-putt bogey at 16.
 
The two-time tour winner responded in dramatic fashion. Gamez carded his first career hole-in-one on the PGA Tour at the 163-yard 17th. He followed that up by rolling in a four-foot putt for eagle at the 18th to climb to 5-under.
 
Around the turn, Gamez drained a 35-footer at the third for birdie. He later three-putted for bogey at the eighth to fall back to minus-5.
 
'I've been playing really well all year and I had a chance in Hawaii, had a chance in Phoenix, too,' said Gamez. 'I've been hitting the ball well for the most part.'
 
Weir, coming off last week's win, had a bogey-free round at Spyglass Hill, the final of the three courses being used for the first three rounds. He notched birdies at four and seven to head to the back nine at minus-2.
 
The Canadian also carded birdies at Nos. 11, 17 and 18 to close out his round and climb into a share of second place.
 
Dave Stockton, Jr., Garrett Willis, Pat Perez, Tom Pernice, Jr., Kenny Perry, Fred Couples, Tim Herron and Brad Lardon stand at 3-under-par 69 three shots off the lead.
 
Defending champion Matt Gogel struggled to an opening-round 78.
 
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