GARETH BALE lived up to the hype over his golf – three weeks after quitting football when he could no longer do the same in that sport.
The Wales and Real Madrid legend, 33, finished an impressive 16-under par on a PGA Tour debut hit by rain and fierce winds.
The former Tottenham winger shot two 65s and then a 69 in the third and final round at Pebble Beach.
Highlights included a comeback from the bunker and a stunning shot from the cart path when he rescued two pars on day one.
Bale’s total of 199 left him 11th in the amateurs’ section as he thrived alongside USA pro American Joseph Bramlett.
The professionals still face playing a fourth round on Monday after windy conditions put paid to Saturday’s golf.
Bale and Bramlett’s score of minus 16 was 10 adrift of NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was paired with Canadian Ben Silverman.
Ex-Dragons skipper Bale, who won 111 caps, had joked before the tournament how praise from pros turned up the heat on his game.
World No3 John Rahm said: “I told Gareth, you can’t be so good at professional football and golf at the same time, it just doesn’t seem fair’.”
Bale responded by saying: “People giving me compliments on my game is incredible.
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“They have a put a bit too much pressure on my shoulders!'”
“It is great to play with them, interact and watch what they do. Just watching him [Bramlett] strike a ball is just something else.
“The power, the touch. He has been incredible and he is an even better guy, which is more important. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.”