Hunter Mahan and Russell Knox are the joint leaders at six under after the first round of the AT & T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the US PGA Tour. The only difference is that Knox’s round of 64 was played at the par 70 course at Monterey Peninsula while Mahan played two shots more at Pebble Beach.
Mahan is the much more experienced of the pair. He fits the identikit of several US PGA champions from the last 20 years. He is an established US Tour professional, a proven winner and in the correct age group of about 30 but yet to win a major.
Mahan has yet to win a major and not even contended in one, though he did make the cut in three of the four he contested in 2012. In fact it was the PGA Championship in which he did not play over the weekend but this tournament still provides him with the best opportunity to win a major in 2013.
The American player turned professional in 2003 after an outstanding college and amateur career. He was the best college golfer of 2003 having finished runner-up in the US Amateur Championship the previous year while still a student.
Mahan earned his playing privileges for 2004 at the qualifying school. He made a solid start to his professional career with several decent finishes over the next three years. His breakthrough came in 2007 with a first win and he has since added four titles to his tally.
He was multiple winner last season, winning the World Golf Championship Match Play Championship and the Houston Open. Mahan played in each of the FedEx Cup play-off events last year and ended the regular season by finishing tied 8th in the Tour Championship.
Knox meanwhile played on the Hooters Tour between 2008 and 2010 during which spell he won two tournaments. He also has a title to his name on the Nationwide Tour, won in 2011 when he qualified for the main Tour for 2012 by finishing 12th on the Money List.