All Even for Ellis

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Gavilan alum stumbles to a 4-over 76 at Spyglass Hill; heads to
Pebble Beach today in hopes of making the cut at the AT
&
amp;T National Pro-Am
Pebble Beach – As the ball rolled uphill and picked up steam, it looked more and more like John Ellis would salvage some valuable momentum heading into the third day of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. To the growing excitement of the Gavilan alum’s gallery, Ellis’ birdie putt at No. 18 headed straight for the cup as it climbed the two-tiered green.

But then the ball came to a halt less than an inch away from the edge of the cup–the final disappointment of Ellis’ trying round at Spyglass Hill.

“It was a great putt. I don’t know how it didn’t go in,” said Ellis, who settled for a par to complete his round of 4-over 76. “When it’s going good, those go in and when it’s not, that’s the way it is.”

On a day when the temperature dropped sharply from the sun-baked opening day, so did Ellis’ performance, along with that of many other golfers.

After shooting a 4-under 68 at Poppy Hills on Thursday, Ellis was victimized by a bogey-double bogey skid on Friday’s front nine to drop to even par on the tournament, leaving him in jeopardy of missing the cut at the end of today’s round.

“I hit it absolutely perfect [Thursday] and didn’t hit it very well [Friday],” said Ellis. “Spyglass is quite a bit harder. A day like this takes a lot out of you when you’re struggling and you’re kind of getting beat up by the golf course.”

Canada’s Mike Weir fired a 67 at Poppy Hills to take the 36-hole lead at 14-under par, while San Jose’s Aaron Obherholser moved into sole possession of second place with his round of 68 at Spyglass Hill. First-round leader Luke Donald, who tied a course record with his 10-under 62 on Thursday at Spyglass Hill, shot a pedestrian 72 at Pebble Beach to fall into a three-way tie at third place.

Whereas 101 golfers shot better than par during Thursday’s picture-perfect conditions, only 76 players managed to finish in the red on Friday as the Monterey Bay fog rolled in late in the morning and remained throughout the afternoon.

Though he knew early in the round that he didn’t have his best stuff, Ellis battled through his first six holes, converting some tricky up-and-downs to save par each step of the way. But the par-5 No. 7 began his downturn.

After faltering to a bogey on that hole with three consecutive errant shots, Ellis seemed primed to redeem himself by hitting a “perfect drive” on the 399-yard No. 8.

But the University of Oregon alum’s approach shot from 146 yards out struck inches from the top of a bunker guarding the green. The ball rolled down to the bottom of the trap, leaving Ellis with a difficult lie that spelled disaster. After overshooting the green and then chipping back past the pin, Ellis two-putted for a double bogey that left him 3-over for the round.

Ellis spoke of the disappointment of narrowly missing a birdie opportunity on that par-4 as he neared the back nine, and instead suffering to a six.

“If it gets up there, I turn it at 1-over and I’m in good shape,” said the Live Oak grad. “It was just a hair short–a bad bounce off the lip.”

Ellis’ frustration continued as he followed a birdie on the par-5 No. 11 with a bogey on the next hole. After the 25-year old drove into the woods on No. 16, he appeared to set up a par save with an outstanding chip to within 10 feet of the pin. But his uphill par putt stopped inches short of the cup.

The cliffhanger on No. 18 was the final missed opportunity, leaving Ellis wishing that he had attacked the round as he had Thursday’s.

“Maybe I was a little tentative,” said Ellis. “In hindsight, I should’ve played more aggressively. I made some misses because I didn’t play aggressively.”

Sitting 14 shots off the lead heading into today’s round, Ellis was eager to tackle Pebble Beach, believing that he needed to card a round of about 3-under to make the cut.

“I’m just going to go out and play my game,” said Ellis. “I’m going to be aggressive when the golf course allows me to be. I’m going to go out firing and try to shoot a good round.”

Ellis is set to tee off on hole No. 10 at 10:10am.

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