Brandon Harkins shot perhaps one of the least discussed top nines of the year.
The 35-year-old native of Northern California shot the back nine at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links at the TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational 28 on Thursday. We repeat: 20-damn-eight! He did this by rewinding eight straight birdies, starting with number 11. Well, that’s golfing your ball.
On a cold, windy day, Harkins stood up and down for a ho-hum par at # 10, his first hole of the 72-hole tournament, before the fireworks began. As he put it, he did a few birdies and then a few more.
“The amateur team in my group said, ‘That’s four in a row.’ I thought, ‘Yeah, I think you’re right.’ Then I did a few more and they said, ‘Gosh, that’s six in a row.’ Then they stopped talking about it, ”Harkins recalled in a telephone interview. “As we turned the corner, I could hear her whisper, ‘That’s eight in a row.’ I said, ‘Guys, you can talk as much as you want. I do not mind.’ ”
Most people just dream of playing Pebble Beach. Winning there is a different story.
Congratulations to @BrandonDHarkins on winning the TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational! pic.twitter.com/6KZzpRQDc8
– Straight ahead (@StraightDown) November 22, 2021
Harkins missed a 10 foot birdie at # 1, his 10th hole of the day. When he birdiete the par-5 second, he was 9-under through 11 holes and dreams of 59 crossed his mind. “I was like, ‘I still have the easy holes,'” he said. “But then I became human again and started doing pars.”
He “was content” with shooting 9-under 63, sticking a few approaches within tap-in range, but also punching a handful of 15-20 feet, some of which broke four feet.
“There was a couple of hours of stretch that I couldn’t miss,” he said.
Harkins played on the PGA Tour in 2018-19 but fell outside the top 150 and was demoted to the Korn Ferry Tour, where he will play again next season after finishing 48th on the 2020-21 money list.
Harkins is no stranger to the Pebble Beach Invitational. He was granted a dispensation when he first entered the tournament to win the Monterey Open at the Del Monte Golf Course and has been invited to the competition since climbing the golf ranks.
The Pebble Beach Invitational celebrated its 50th edition last week. Played on three courses – The Links at Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill Golf Course were the others – it provided a unique field with ladies like Brittany Lincicome, Gerina Piller and Juli Inkster playing from the front tees, seniors like Kirk Triplett, Billy Andrade and Brandel Chamblee, who retired in the second round and played from a combination of white and blue markers, and emerging pros like Justin Suh (4th), Isaiah Salinda (T-5) and Austin Eckroat (T -5) play from the tips.
Harkins, born in Lafayette, Calif., Raised in Walnut Creek, a suburb of the Bay Area, and played his college golf in Chico State, knows the rotation of courses in the tournament well from teaching with Laird Small, the director of the Pebble Beach Academy , and finished T-15 in the 2017 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
He followed his 63rd opening round with rounds of 67 at Spanish Bay, 71 at Spyglass and a 66 at Pebble to shoot 21-under 267 and win the title by two strokes ahead of Alex Cejka and Harry Hall. Harkins wasn’t even sure how much he’d won, but as much as it was – reckoning between $ 50,000 and $ 70,000 – it pale compared to the fact that he’d won a tournament at Pebble Beach.
“Growing up in the area and winning there,” he said, “is pretty cute.”
As well as shooting 28 and eight birdies in a row in one of the great cathedrals of the Gulf.
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