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Pro-Am ‘We had a bunch of Irish people following us. It really was fun’ – Seamus Power cards stunning 64 at Pebble Beach


Seamus Power of Ireland

Seamus Power of Ireland

Seamus Power of Ireland

Séamus Power is joint favourite for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after he birdied his last four holes and opened with an incredible, eight-under 64 at Spyglass Hill.

The West Waterford man sits alone in second, a shot behind unheralded American Tom Hoge, who shot a nine-under 63 at Pebble Beach.

Given that Power (34) shot his score on the toughest of the three courses on the rota (average score 72.231), beating the next best score at that venue by four strokes, he's given himself a golden opportunity to capture his second PGA Tour title.

"Yeah, it was a great finish," said Power, who is tied for third with amateur partner Dermot Desmond in the pro-am part of the event after they posted a nine-under 63 to share third place, two shots behind Kevin Streelman and American Football star Larry Fitzgerald.

"It's a funny old golf course. I hit a horrible tee shot on the par-three fifth [his 14th], had a very good up-and-down to kind of stay at four [under] and then just kind of clicked coming in, really, made a couple of very nice putts and [hit] a couple of very nice shots."

The current world No 50 has been on a sensational run of form since he captured July's Barbarsol Championship after a six-hole playoff for his maiden PGA Tour win.

He hasn't looked back since, rising to a career-best 47th in the world on Monday after clinching his sixth top-20 finish in 11 starts since he won.

He's 61 under par in 2022 alone (averaging 67 per round), finishing tied 15th in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and tied third in the Sony Open on the tour's Hawaiian swing, then finished tied 14th in the American Express in Palm Springs last week despite a disappointing final round 74.

Admitting his confidence has been sky high since he made his breakthrough, he felt ready to do well at Spyglass Hill, where most players try to hang on and emerge without doing too much damage.

"I know this place always plays the hardest," said Power, who needs to remain in the world's top 50 on March 28 to secure a Masters debut. "I've always really enjoyed playing Spyglass, it kind of suits my eye, and my game feels in good shape, so I was like, why not."

Starting on the back nine, he birdied the 13th, 14th and 15th and first to get to four-under, then saved a good par at the fifth and then knocked in a 25-footer for a birdie at the sixth before following a birdie four at the seventh with two birdie threes.

"Six was a steal," he said. "I hit it in the left bunker and hit a decent bunker shot on to about 25 feet and rolled that in. It kind of set me up for the last three.

"I hit some good tee shots, hit the fairways on 8 and 9, which are huge and left myself good numbers. It was one of those days I kind of left myself like the right numbers into holes and just made it easier to get it closer."

Pleased to go bogey-free, he was happy to play in a t-shirt and take advantage of relatively calm weather.

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"It was as nice as I've seen it," said Power, who hit 14 greens in regulation and needed just 24 putts. "The temperature was fantastic. I'm playing in a T-shirt, normally I have a sweater and other stuff on.

"So it was nice, wind was minimal. Even when you get out to two, three, four, there was a little bit of breeze, but nothing major. So it was a perfect day for scoring.

"Obviously, it's great to have a good start, but tomorrow I'm playing Pebble at 8:40, and it's going to be a completely different course to today. So kind of makes it easier to reset, and so hopefully we can keep doing the same thing tomorrow."

Power was playing with Kinsale's John Murphy (23), who shot a three-over 75 on his PGA Tour debut with amateur partner Gerry McManus, and credited the camaraderie in the group for his low score.

"It was such an enjoyable round," he said. "Like John, it was very cool, John's very first PGA Tour event, that was cool. And then our partners, we had a great time.

"And then we had a bunch of Irish people following us; it really was fun. We talked about stories and stuff from back home and it makes you just feel a little more at ease."

Austin Smotherman (Pebble Beach) and Sweden's Jonas Blixt (Monterey Peninsula Country Club) shot seven-under-par 65s to share third place while reigning FedEx Cup champion and world number four Patrick Cantlay is tied for fifth after a six-under 65 at Pebble Beach.

Cantlay was third in the event last year and looks the biggest threat to Power over the next three days.

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