Peter Malnati must've watched his first tee shot in the final round at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am dreading the worst as it sailed right of the fairway towards trees.
Malnati began the fourth round on Sunday one shot behind Justin Rose on 11-under and eating into this deficit was an afterthought when he arrived at his ball on this 386-yard par-4.
But the 35-year-old worked an incredible 135-yard punch shot which avoided all the obstacles in his way. He also avoided the three sizeable bunkers that surround the putting surface.
Malnati's ball scuttled up the fairway and bounded on to the green to seven feet. Not only did he roll it in for birdie, but he took the lead on 12-under after Rose made a bogey on the same hole.
He went on to make birdies on holes 3 and 6 to reach 14-under and he was tied at the top of the leaderboard in California with the Englishman who made a sensational eagle on the par-5 6th hole.
New solo leader @ATTProAm at 12-under pic.twitter.com/mJeBxpI010— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 5, 2023
After making a bogey on the 8th and with Rose making a birdie on the 7th, Malnati finished the first part of round four on 13-under when darkness stopped play. Each player has nine holes to complete on Monday to crown a champion.
His first win on the PGA Tour came at the Sanderson Farms Championship in 2016 and he has missed five cuts in the eight events he has played so far this season.
"I'm not in this position too much. I'm going to go do my best tomorrow on every single shot. If we come to 18 and it's just the two of us, then I'm going to think about strategy," he said.
"Being, like, do I need to be more aggressive to catch him or whatever? Because I do play to win. It's why we do this.
"So I just got to go out there and take care of my business, do my best on every shot. My goal is to win every week when I play. It would be especially sweet to win at a place like this. So that will be on my mind overnight. It will certainly be what I'm shooting for tomorrow."
Here is the current leaderboard at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am:
-15 J Rose (9)
-13 P Malnati (9), B Todd (12), D McCarthy (15)
-12 T Pendrith (F), B Hossler (12), K Mitchell (10), B Wu (10)
-11 M Kim (17), R Werenski (15), R Moore (13), B Grant (12)