PEBBLE BEACH — Hunter Mahan was bracing for the worst of Pebble Beach, his golf bag weighed down with rain gear and everything else to handle nasty weather.
Instead, he was reminded how much he loves this place.
It helps that Mahan drilled a 3-wood onto the 18th green for a two-putt birdie that gave him a 6-under 66 and a share of the lead to par with Russell Knox in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Better yet, the rain everyone was expecting early in the afternoon never showed up.
So when Mahan was asked about the most interesting part of the day, all he could think of was that it was boring — in a good way.
“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.”
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 than 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.
Pebble and Monterey Peninsula played nearly a half-shot under par, while Spyglass was almost a half-shot over par.
Phil Mickelson, going after a record-tying fifth win in this tournament, opened with a 69 at Monterey Peninsula.
NOTE: Days after losing Super Bowl XLVII, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh teamed with pro Jason Day to fire a 9-under 61 at Monterey Peninsula in the pro-am portion of the event, good for a tie for third. Also in the group was Giants right-hander Matt Cain, who is teamed with Matt Bettencourt. Cain and Bettencourt combined to fire a 7-under 63 to sit in a tie for 19th in the pro-am.