GOLF: Mallinger leads Pebble Beach Invitational |

GOLF: Mallinger leads Pebble Beach Invitational

Associated Press

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) – John Mallinger, no longer fully exempt on the PGA Tour after finishing 133rd on the money list this year, birdied the final two holes at Del Monte for a 2-under 70 to maintain a one-stroke lead Saturday in the Pebble Beach Invitational.

“Today was playing tough,” Mallinger said. “I expected rain and then there was perfect weather. I struggled when the wind picked up.”

Mallinger had an 11-under 205 total in the Callaway-sponsored event that features 76 male and female players. Russ Cochran, a two-time Champions Tour winner, was second after a 70 at Spyglass Hill.

“It’s always good thing to be in the lead,” said Mallinger, who will play in the PGA Tour qualifying tournament in two weeks in a bid to improve his 2011 conditional status. “Some of the pins were nasty, so I wasn’t expecting much.”

Mallinger, winless on the PGA Tour, has eight top-three finishes on the tour, including two thirds at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He also tied for 22nd in the U.S. Open in June at Pebble Beach.

Morgan Pressel (71), Champions Tour player Mark Wiebe (71) and D.A. Points (72) were tied for third at 7 under. Annika Sorenstam, competing for one of the few times since her 2008 retirement, was seven strokes back after a 71 at Pebble Beach, the site of the final round.

Juli Inskter, who in 1990 became the only woman to win the event, was even par after a 75 at Spyglass.

The top 40 and ties advanced to the final round.

The winner will get $60,000 from the $300,000 purse.