Britain's Knox sets early pace at Pebble Beach

Thu Feb 7, 2013 6:27pm EST
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(Reuters) - Little-known Briton Russell Knox birdied four of his last eight holes to upstage some of the game's biggest names by grabbing an early one-shot lead in the first round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Thursday.

A rookie on the PGA Tour last year, Knox fired a six-under-par 64 in mainly sunny conditions on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, one of three venues being used this week.

The 27-year-old Scot covered his back nine in three-under to finish a stroke in front of South Korean Noh Seung-yul and Americans Matt Every and Ted Potter Jr., who carded matching five-under 67s.

Noh, who briefly led by one shot before bogeying his last two holes, started out at Spyglass Hill while Every and Potter both played on the hosting Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Former world number one Lee Westwood, making his first PGA Tour start of the year, opened with a 68 on the Pebble Beach layout while defending champion Phil Mickelson was among the late starters.

Englishman Westwood, who is being partnered by his father John in the pro-am celebrity event, was delighted with his round.

"There's a long way to go but I'm off to a nice start, a 68, and I don't think that does you any damage on any of these golf courses," the 39-year-old told Golf Channel after mixing five birdies with a lone bogey.

Asked how much he enjoyed playing with his father on one of the game's most iconic layouts, Westwood replied: "It's the biggest thrill. This is going to be one of the great weeks of the year for me.

"We didn't play Pebble (Beach) in the practice rounds because I have played it in so many U.S. Opens and things like that, so that was my Dad's first look at it.   Continued...