Cantlay ties course record at Pebble Beach

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Patrick Cantlay looked just as good Thursday at Pebble Beach as the last round he played 18 days ago.

Coming off a 61 in the California desert followed by a two-week break, Cantlay opened with seven birdies in eight holes and closed with two straight birdies for a 10-under 62.

That tied the course record at Pebble Beach last matched 24 years ago by David Duval, and it gave Cantlay a two-shot lead in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

"I feel like I'm in a groove right now," Cantlay said.

Henrik Norlander and 19-year-old Akshay Bhatia were at 64. Bhatia hit all 18 of the small greens at Pebble Beach, the first player to do that at Pebble since Ryan Palmer in 2008.

Jordan Spieth moved another round closer to some kind of a groove. He tied for fourth last week in the Phoenix Open, his best finish since May 2019 at the PGA Championship. Spieth holed out a wedge on the 10th hole for eagle and finished with three birdies over his last five holes for a 65.

It helped being at Pebble Beach, typically the easiest course when the weather is dry and relatively calm. Only one of the leading 10 scores was at Spyglass Hill. That came from Will Gordon, who shot a 66. Spyglass played slightly two shots harder.

Leading Australians Matt Jones and Cameron Percy both played at Pebble Beach. They shot 67s to be five off Cantlay, tied 11th.

Both had similar rounds, with six birdies and a lone bogey.

Former world No.1 Jason Day carded a three-under 69 while John Senden and Aaron Baddely were a stroke back.

Rain was in the forecast overnight and possibly lingering into Friday before returning early in the weekend.

Without spectators and amateurs this year, the tournament is using only two courses instead of three.

Low scores at Pebble Beach start with good weather and taking advantage of the front nine, and Cantlay had both of those going for him. He one-putted every green on the front nine, and capped off a stretch of four straight birdies with a 7-iron that landed next to the hole on No. 8 and left him a fast 6-footer for birdie.

The finish also was impressive, with a 7-iron that settled about 7 feet below the hole on the par-3 17th, and a nifty wedge from right of the 18th green for an up-and-down and his 10th birdie.

"I think we got Pebble in pretty much ideal conditions and I don't think it's going to be like that the rest of the week," Cantlay said.

Bhatia has been relying on sponsor exemptions since the former Junior PGA champion decided to turn pro right out of high school.

He also was at Pebble, starting on the back nine and making his surge late in the round.

Phil Mickelson, a five-time champion at this event, opened with a 74 at Spyglass and will have to hope for equally decent weather at Pebble Beach to make the cut.