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Letting a star be your guide

Editor's note:

Sports Editor Tim Trower is following Ashland native Jason Allred at this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. ' Jason Allred can thank his lucky star.

That's star as in celebrity Carson Daly.

— With Allred struggling in the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Saturday, Daly played far better than one might expect of a 10-handicap ' suggesting luck didn't play a part at all ' and propelled them into contention today for the team championship.

Allred and Daly are tied for seventh place among the 25 teams that made the cut to today's final round at Pebble Beach. At 23 under, they are four strokes behind the two leading teams: pro Jay Delsing and amateur Doug Kintzinger, and pro Joel Kribel and amateur Barry McCollam.

There should be no shortage of spectators following Allred and Daly around today. They will be paired with comedian Bill Murray, long the most prominent amateur in this event, and pro Scott Simpson. The foursome tees off at 9 a.m. on the 10th tee.

The pro on the winning team receives &

36;12,000. The money doesn't count toward official PGA Tour earnings.

Allred got off to a poor start at Pebble Beach Saturday, the site of today's final round, by hitting his second shot out of bounds on the way to a double bogey. He never recovered and shot 79, the same score as Daly.

Even though amateurs pick up once they're no longer a factor in the hole, that was seldom the case with Daly.

Allred made double bogeys on the first, seventh and 18th holes and managed only one birdie.

Knowing he needed to go well under par to make the cut, Allred pushed his first tee shot into the trees on the right side, then tried to cut the ball around the corner on the dogleg right. He was double-crossed, however, when the ball jumped out of the wet grass.

I probably tried to do too much right off the bat, said Allred, who missed the cut line for the pros by 11 shots. I felt great and felt like I could hit that shot. In hindsight, I'd probably do things differently if I had it to do again.

A two-putt bogey on the par-4 third hole moved him another shot back, and the hole proved to big.

I was excited to shoot well even after that (first) hole, said Allred. But I missed a couple of putts on the next couple of holes and couldn't get anything going after that.

His double bogey at the 106-yard seventh was a result of flying the green on the picturesque hole that abuts the ocean.

He had six pars and a bogey over the next seven holes before finally breaking through with a birdie.

Even that was eventful. His tee shot on the 15th, a short par 4, went way right, so much so that Allred hit a provisional.

He found his ball perilously close to the out-of-bounds line, but had a shot behind a bush and thick grass.

Refusing to give up, Allred even called his shot, said caddie Dick Christy, who noted that Allred planned to scramble out of trouble with a play that would make Seve (Ballesteros) jealous.

The approach settled 22 feet left of the hole, and he drained the putt.

One hole later, his par putt came in handy when Daly bogeyed.

It was nice that I could help out on at least a couple of shots, said Allred.

He got to the 18th hole intent on going for the gusto and trying to reach the 543-yard par 5 in two. But his tee shot went out of bounds to the right and he took another double.

Daly, meanwhile, was put in the position of having to perform, and he came through with flying colors.

The television talk-show host birdied the third hole with a 25-foot putt, then knocked a wedge to within 2 feet at the seventh hole for another birdie.

This is the fourth year of playing in the tournament for Daly, whose father worked at Riviera Country Club in Southern California for years. He'd never made the cut to Sunday before.

This is such a mental grind for me, said Daly, who joked that making the cut might rearrange his schedule and prevent him from his duties of presenting an award at tonight's Grammy's in Los Angeles. I want to do well here so badly. My dad's out here watching, so I'm really happy we made the cut.

Daly said he puts enough pressure on himself.

I don't need anymore, he said. Even with the safety net of having a PGA professional with me, I felt like I was doing a sky walk without a net.

He was particularly concerned at 18, given Allred's troubles.

Daly hit two goods shots to start the hole, then dumped his approach in a green-side bunker. But he got out and two-putted for a net par to keep the team from going backwards.

On 18, said Daly, I could have blown up and shot us right out of this thing.

Instead, he kept them in it.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail

Jason Allred, right, and caddie Dick Christy prepare to play the par-3 17th hole at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Saturday.