Cameron Percy Takes Advantage of Pebble Beach Opportunity

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Fellow American Beau Hossler, a PGA Tour rookie, had a bogey-free 67 at Spyglass Hill, joining Johnson at 12-under, though Johnson has a lower total, 131 against Hossler's 132.

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. - Victories have been elusive for Phil Mickelson over the past five years, but he has given himself another chance on the Monterey Peninsula, where he will seek a tournament-record-tying fifth victory this weekend at Pebble Beach.

"I don't know if it's quite as good as it was during that stretch", he said.

He said: "I've been hitting the ball beautifully".

Four-times major victor McIlroy is using Pebble as the start of a busy PGA Tour campaign leading up to the Masters in April.

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One former world number one offered rare praise to another on Wednesday as Jason Day said Rory McIlroy had "Tiger-esque" skills on the golf course. "That was probably some of the best golf I've played in my career, but parts of the game are just as good". It is the first tournament of the calendar year for Scott, who used a conventional putter having tried his old long putter at the Australian PGA Championship late last year.

But going into Pebble Beach, he ranks 195th in the key putting statistic out of 206 players.

With top-three finishes in each of the Gulf Swing events on the European Tour, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, indicating his well-being, McIlroy wasted no time in leaving his mark on the his seasonal reappearance on the PGA Tour with an opening birdie on the Par 5 first at Spyglass Hill, one of three he claimed on the outward journey.

"I was happy with my round and anytime you can get it around Spyglass with a decent score you have to feel good as it is the tougher of the three courses", he said. At -7, Hossler is two strokes clear of current World No.1 Dustin Johnson and three strokes clear of top players such as Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy. He holed an 18-foot par putt on the 10th hole at Pebble on Thursday. But he needed four more putts from there, recording a double-bogey on the hole.

Johnson also had a three-shot lead that summer at Pebble in the U.S. Open, only to lose it all with a triple bogey on the second hole.