Tim Herron was so frustrated that he changed putters for the first time in seven years at a tournament renowned for having some of the most unpredictable greens on the PGA Tour.
Desperation slowly gave way to satisfaction Friday in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am when Herron shot 3-under 69 at Poppy Hills and emerged with a one-shot lead in a tournament loaded with possibilities.
"Everyone who makes the cut is going to be right in the tournament," said Herron, who was at 7-under 137.
The cut won't be made until after today, when the 180-player field has played all three courses in the rotation, but one look at the muddled leaderboard makes it perfectly clear what Herron is talking about.
A 12-foot birdie putt on his final hole at Poppy gave him a one-shot lead over FBR Open winner J.B. Holmes, Robert Floyd, Michael Allen and Nicholas Thompson, who was tied for the lead until missing a 20-inch putt on No. 8 at Pebble Beach, his 17th hole.
Holmes was fortunate to stay one shot behind after his tee shot on the 18th at Pebble Beach dropped into that big water hazard left of the fairway known as the Pacific Ocean. He took a drop, belted a fairway metal onto the green and two-putted for par.
Three dozen players were within four shots of the lead.
That group did not include defending champion Phil Mickelson, who played his final 11 holes at Spyglass with no birdies and three bogeys for par 72, although he still was in range at 1-under 143.
Champions: Mark McNulty holed an 86-foot chip for eagle on the par-5 18th for 6-under 66 and a share of the first-round lead with Jerry Pate at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton. "It's always a big bonus to finish like that," McNulty said. "You're trying to put it in birdie range ... then on 18, whammo!" He had five birdies and bogey on the Old Course at Broken Sound.
U.S. Open: Seven months after it opened for public play, Chambers Bay can start preparing. Chambers Bay, built over a former gravel pit along the lower Puget Sound southwest of Seattle, was awarded the 2015 tournament, the first U.S. Open to be held in the American Pacific Northwest.