FedExCup points leader Walker, who won the season-opening
Frys.com Open in October and last month's Sony Open in Hawaii fired
a three-under-par 69 at Spyglass Hill, one of three venues being
used for this week's event.
Walker clearly relishes playing on the picturesque Monterey
Peninsula, having recorded top-10 finishes in each of the last three
years at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
The 34-year-old collected three birdies in a bogey-free display in
mainly overcast, breezy conditions to finish level with fellow
American Jordan Spieth, who returned a six-birdie 67 at Monterey
Spieth, the 2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year who clinched his maiden
title at the John Deere Classic in July, birdied his final hole, the
par-three ninth, to join Walker at the top.
First-round leader Andrew Loupe, a PGA Tour rookie making only his
seventh start on the U.S. circuit, was a further two strokes back at
seven under after carding a one-over 73 on the hosting Pebble Beach
Tournament favorite and world number four Phil Mickelson, bidding
this week for a record-equaling fifth victory at the Pebble Beach
National Pro-Am, was five off the pace after signing for a
[to top of second column]
The American left-hander, wearing a glove on each hand to cope
with increasingly chilly conditions on the Pebble Beach Golf Links,
mixed a double-bogey at the second with four birdies and three
bogeys to finish at four under.
Loupe's overnight lead of two shots held up when the rain-delayed
first round was completed earlier on Friday.
The 25-year-old Loupe had set the pace with a sizzling 63 at
Monterey Peninsula on Thursday but 40 players were yet to finish
when play ended for the day in fading light.
Of those, Mickelson was three strokes off the pace with three holes
remaining but he was unable to get any closer to Loupe as he
finished up with three successive pars on Friday morning to card a
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles;
editing by Gene
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