Loupe's two-shot lead holds up at Pebble Beach

Fri Feb 7, 2014 1:46pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - PGA Tour rookie Andrew Loupe's overnight lead of two shots held up when the rain-delayed first round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am was completed on Friday.

Loupe, making only his seventh start on the U.S. circuit, had set the pace with a sizzling eight-under-par 63 on Thursday but 40 players were yet to finish when play ended for the day in fading light.

Of those, tournament favorite and world number four Phil Mickelson was three strokes off the pace with three holes remaining but he was unable to get any closer to Loupe as he finished up with three successive pars on Friday morning.

Mickelson, aiming for a record-equaling fifth victory at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, carded a five-under 66 on the hosting Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of three venues being used for this week's event.

Also at five under were fellow Americans Robert Streb, Jordan Spieth, Brian Harman and Dicky Pride, South African Rory Sabbatini, New Zealander Tim Wilkinson and European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley of Ireland.

Loupe's closest pursuers, who all finished at six under on Thursday, were Australians Stuart Appleby and Scott Gardiner, who both fired 65s at Monterey Peninsula, and Americans Jimmy Walker, Jim Renner and Richard H. Lee.

FedExCup points leader Walker returned a 66 on the Pebble Beach Golf Links while Renner and Lee both shot 65s on the Shore Course.

SPECTACULAR SURROUNDS

Loupe, who had to contend with the Pebble Beach layout in the second round, was ecstatic to be leading a PGA Tour event in the spectacular surrounds of the Monterey Peninsula.   Continued...