Belgian Thomas Detry carded 10 birdies on his way to taking first round leader honours at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, while both Rory McIlroy and Seamus Power ended day one well off the pace.
McIlroy’s disappointing finish was compounded by suffering an additional two-stroke penalty for an incorrect drop on his 16th hole over at Spyglass Hill, while Waterford man Power, bogeyed the par-5 18th on the iconic Pebble Beach to fall back to level-par for the day, one behind his fellow countryman.
Returning to a venue he has fond memories of after strong performances in both 2023 and 2022, Power’s 2024 campaign continues to be a slow burner, despite getting off to the ideal start with a birdie on one. He’d give that shot back on the par-3 fifth, but got back into red figures again after a sublime approach over the picturesque sea cliffs on the eighth.
Sadly, that would be his last birdie of the round, reeling off nine successive pars before reaching the famed 18th where a pulled tee shot found the ocean, forcing him to reload and managing to get down in four with his second ball.
The resulting bogey dropped him back to level par, tied for 50th in the 80-man field, and one behind McIlroy who in turn is tied for 39th.
In another week where early signs suggest that European players are going to be a force to be reckoned with, Detry, still searching for his maiden solo main tour victory, has sole possession of the lead, two clear of Frenchman Matthieu Pavon who followed up last week’s emotional win with another stellar opening effort to sit on -7, with Patrick Cantlay one ahead of Pavon and one behind Detry.
Detry was in contention for most of last week, and signed off round number one with a chip-in birdie on the 18th at Spyglass.
“Yeah, just perfect,” he said when asked about his final shot. “The greens are soft, it was an uphill lie, I felt pretty comfortable I would put it within three feet to be honest. And it rolled nicely, just
trickled in the hole. It was lovely to watch.”
And he admitted that his confidence is sky high at the moment, even if he once again failed to convert an excellent winning opportunity last week.
“I’m not gonna lie, last weekend was a tough pill to swallow,” he conceded. “I played some great golf and I didn’t really have the finish that I wanted to. I was in contention the whole weekend except the last five or six holes, I think. So I’m happy that it didn’t let me affect it — I didn’t let it affect me. So I was able to build up on that good play and keep building up on that confidence and hopefully keep the momentum going for the next couple years.”
The Belgian and American both played their opening rounds at Spyglass Hill, while Pavon’s 64 was the lowest score recorded at Pebble Beach.
Emiliano Grillo and Si Woo Kim lie tied for fourth at -6, with Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa tied sixth, one ahead of a large grouping at -4 that includes defending champion Justin Rose, Swedish sensation Ludvig Aberg and Justin Thomas, who continues his return to form after a very poor (by his standards) 2023.
World number one Scottie Scheffler, who would relinquish the top spot should McIlroy win this week, hit a best-in-the-field 16 of 18 greens at Spyglass Hill, but took 31 putts as he recorded a three-under 68, joining the likes of Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood and Max Homa on that number.