- Associated Press - Friday, February 8, 2013

PEBBLE BEACH, CALIF. (AP) - Hunter Mahan was preparing for a rainy day. He wound up with a beautiful start in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

The forecast called for rain about the time Mahan was to reach the stretch of holes at Pebble Beach that runs along the Pacific Ocean, and he left nothing to chance. He packed the umbrella, rain gear, extra gloves, everything to cope with nasty weather that has become part of the Pebble Beach lore over the years.

“The bag probably weighs 100 pounds right now _ can’t fit anything more in it,” Mahan said.

So imagine his surprise when the rain stayed away, leaving the Monterey Peninsula in all its glory for the opening round Thursday. And imagine his delight at pounding a 3-wood onto the green at the par-5 18th, giving him one last birdie in a round of 6-under 66 that gave him a share of the lead to par with Russell Knox.

“I had a good time with my partner. The pace was great. The weather was good,” he said. “I think the most interesting thing was we had perfect weather when it was supposed to rain at noon. … The weather was fantastic.”

Mahan took advantage of a gorgeous day by attacking Pebble Beach, the place to be when the conditions are calm. He missed only two greens _ one of those on the edge _ and only had one birdie attempt longer than 20 feet.

It was a good start, but nothing more. With three very different courses in the rotation, weather that can change without notice and one course with a different par, no one has a good idea where they stand until after three rounds on Saturday.

Knox, who grew up in northern Scotland and has family roots in California, made the most of his limited starts on the PGA Tour. He had a 6-under 64 on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. Knox finished out of the top 125 on the money list last year as a rookie, so his opportunities will be limited this year.

“I came in here with a lot of confidence because I feel like I’ve been playing very well,” Knox said. “Just haven’t had the chance to play. It was nice to get off to a good start.”

The best round might have belonged to Seung-yul Noh of South Korea, who played at Spyglass Hill. It’s typically the toughest of the three courses when conditions are benign, and such was the case Thursday.

Pebble and Monterey Peninsula played nearly a half-shot under par, while Spyglass was almost a half-shot over par.

Noh reached 7 under until making bogeys on the last two holes for a 5-under 67, which only slightly soured his day. He still had the best score at Spyglass.

“Still a good score. I’m really happy with that,” Noh said.

Even more impressive is that he felt half-asleep. Noh played in Dubai last week and is still coping with jet lag.

Also at 5 under were Scott Langley (65 at Monterey Peninsula) and Matt Every, who had a bogey on his final hole at Pebble Beach for a 67.

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