Former Real Madrid and Wales star Gareth Bale made a strong start to his first appearance at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California on Thursday, as he and his professional partner Joseph Bramlett finished the first round with a seven-under-par 65.
A number of celebrities, including actor Bill Murray and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, are taking part in the event alongside professionals like U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and world No. 5 Patrick Cantlay.
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As he prepared to tee off at the first hole, Bale described playing in the tournament as a “dream” but admitted “there’s a lot of nerves for some reason.”
But that first tee shot landed perfectly on the green to begin the round with a par.
“I think every amateur will tell you they are out of their comfort zone, even though we are used to playing in front of 80,000 or more live on TV. It is a completely different sport,” he told Sky Sports.
“It is something that is just different and it is a cool experience, and I am lucky I hit one of my best shots down the first fairway which was nice.”
Bale impressed again on the second hole when being handed a drop on the cart path and chipping within 4 feet of the pin to save par.
Bale from the cart path 😱 pic.twitter.com/oM2j72iDZL
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“I am more worried about how I found myself [on the path] in the first place, but I guess a lot of amateurs find themselves in that position,” Bale said.
“It was a great shot and I just tried to play into the bank and hope for the best like most amateurs do.”
Bale, 33, announced his retirement from football last month after captaining Wales in their first World Cup since 1958 at the end of 2022. The five-time Champion League winner finished his career with LAFC, where he scored a dramatic equaliser as they won MLS Cup last November.
The former Tottenham forward is renowned for his love of golf. During his time at Real Madrid, he received backlash from his own supporters after posing with a banner which read: “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.”