TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational

TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational

TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational
Pebble Beach, California
Winner: Kevin Sutherland

“I just really got it going,” was the way Kevin Sutherland put it. But the way the scorecard put it, Sutherland shot 30 on the front nine of his final round — making four birdies and an eagle — and went on to win the TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational. Sutherland had trailed by three strokes after the third round and rode that hot start into a three-stroke win over Martin Flores.

In the three-course tournament, Sutherland shot 72 at Spyglass Hill, 70 at Pebble, 67 at Spanish Bay and closed with 67 at Pebble for a 12-under 276. Pebble Beach was sounding like Sutherland’s home course. He won the event in 2000 (under a different sponsor) and finished second or tied for second four times since 2004. Sutherland estimated that he played the Invitational 25 times.

The Invitational, which began in 1972 and has had various sponsors, is played by golfers from the PGA, LPGA, Champions and Korn Ferry tours, heading teams of amateurs. The tees are adjusted for length so that the players are hitting approximately the same clubs into each green. Flores held a hot hand, shooting the first three rounds in the 60s and going into the final round leading John Oda by one, John Mallinger and Andrew Yun by two, and Sutherland by three.

After that smoking start, Sutherland had something of a breathtaking finish. Coming in, he bogeyed three times, and closed with three straight birdies for his 67, the last from 10 feet. Flores, in the group behind, double-bogeyed the 18th and shot 73. “I won by three shots,” Sutherland said, “but it was closer than the margin seems.”

Mexico’s Maria Fassi, dynamic LPGA rookie, opened with a 71 at Spanish Bay, then shot a six-under 66 at Spyglass Hill, leaping into a five-way tie for the lead and raising the possibility that the Pebble would have its second female champion, after Juli Inkster in 1990. Then Fassi stumbled to a 78-79 finish at Pebble and closed at six over 294. That left LPGA veteran Mina Harigae (67-71-75-71) as the leading woman golfer, tying for seventh at four-under 284.


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