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Golf: Rookie Loupe leads after first round at Pebble Beach

US PGA Tour rookie Andrew Loupe remained atop the leaderboard after completion of the darkness-halted first round of the US$6.6 million Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

PEBBLE BEACH, United States: US PGA Tour rookie Andrew Loupe remained atop the leaderboard on Friday after completion of the darkness-halted first round of the US$6.6 million Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Loupe fired an eight-under par 63 at Monterey Peninsula on Thursday to grab the lead at the rain-hit event, at which 40 players were forced to finish their first rounds on Friday morning.

Loupe headed to the first tee early Thursday just 39 minutes into the opening round when play was suspended because of standing water on some of the greens on the three courses in use for the first three rounds of the tournament.

After a delay of almost three hours, play got underway and Loupe was able to get into the clubhouse with a career-best round that gave him an unexpected two-stroke lead.

"I just keep telling myself, you're supposed to be here, you're going to play good, just keep playing," said Loupe, who had eight birdies and no bogeys. "And this is just one round, guys, you know, but I feel good."

Loupe, 25, had only broken 70 once in 11 previous rounds on the US PGA Tour. In five prior starts this season he has not made a cut.

He only secured his card with an equal sixth-place finish in the final event last season of the Web.com Tour's Finals series.

Jimmy Walker, who leads the tour's Fed Ex Cup playoff standings, was among five players tied for second on six-under par.

He posted his 66 on the par-72 Pebble Beach Golf Links, where Sunday's final round will be held after everyone in the field plays one round at the par-71 Monterey Peninsula, par-72 Pebble and par-72 Spyglass Hill.

Australians Stuart Appleby and Scott Gardiner and Americans Jim Renner and Richard H. Lee all carded six-under 65s at Monterey.

Jordan Spieth fired a bogey-free 67 at Spyglass and was among eight tied at five-under, a group that included European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley of Ireland and New Zealand's Tim Wilkinson, who fired 67s at Pebble Beach, and South African Rory Sabbatini, who fired a 67 at Spyglass.

Four-time tournament winner Phil Mickelson was among those who failed to complete their rounds Thursday. The back-nine starter parred his final three holes Friday at Monterey to finish on 66 and join the five-under pack.

Sabbatini and Wilkinson also finished their opening rounds on Friday.

England's Brian Davis and Greg Owen each completed four-under par rounds on Friday, Owen with a 67 at Monterey and Davis with a 68 at Pebble Beach.

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