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PGA Tour: Gareth Bale enjoys 'nervous' Pebble Beach debut

Recently-retired footballer Gareth Bale has become the latest celebrity to move into the golfing world after he made his debut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Thursday.

The former Wales international was already a keen golfer during his playing days in football but his decision to retire last month now provides him with the time to pick up his clubs more often, and he has done just that.

Duo start off strong

Bale has been paired with former Korn Ferry Tour Championship winner Joseph Bramlett for the first three rounds at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which is played over three different courses for the opening 54 holes. 

The 33-year-old was handed an opening test at Spyglass Hill and, playing off a handicap of two, he put in a solid performance, even though he admitted to feeling nervous on the first tee. 

Bale and Bramlett combined for a seven-under-par 65 on Thursday, leaving them five off the pace in the Pro-Am leaderboard, and the duo will be hoping to maintain that standard over the next couple of days. 

American star Bramlett is four-under-par for the actual event - four off the early leader - and he can be backed at 20/1 to break his PGA Tour duck this week.  

While Bale is grabbing the headlines in California this week, he is just one of several celebrities who enjoy plotting their way around a golf course.

Bill Murray - Handicap 17

One of the most loved actors and comedians in the world, Bill Murray has been playing in Pro-Am tournaments for many years now and, as you may expect, he is a cool customer on the course. 

The 72-year-old often stops to talk to fans during a round, telling jokes and just generally having a chat, but he is also a decent striker of the ball and does well for his age on these tough courses.

Alfonso Ribeiro - Handicap 1 

Another comedian and actor that regularly competes in these events is Alfonso Ribeiro, who is best known for his role as Carlton Banks on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. 

The 51-year-old only took up golf at the age of 18 but he now plays off an impressive handicap of one and, in 2011, he teamed up with musician Macklemore to win the Every Shot Counts Charity Challenge at Pebble Beach.

Aaron Rodgers - Handicap 10 

NFL quarterbacks are often adept at turning their hand to golf and that is the case with Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who plays off 10 and is participating at Pebble Beach this week. 

The 39-year-old, who is in the twilight of his American Football career, was impressive on Thursday as he and partner Ben Silverman finished on -10, leaving them just two off the lead. 

It was Rodgers' display that helped the pairing to where they are on the leaderboard though, with Silverman carding a one-over-par 73. 

Some of the other players that enjoy themselves on the course are former QB Tony Romo, who produced a sensational shot on the 15th hole in the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2019 after sending his approach shot into a hospitality tent before nearly holing out. 

Tom Brady, who retired from American Football on Thursday, is also a dab hand with the clubs, as is current Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen, who is a nine handicapper. 

Former All-Pro American football offensive tackle Harris Barton and former quarterbacks Alex Smith and Steve Young are also seen on the course on a regular basis.

Justin Timberlake - Handicap 4 

Having made vast amounts of money in music and film, you may not know that Justin Timberlake plays off a handicap of four and is a big fan when it comes to golf. 

The 42-year-old actually has a heavy interest in golf. He was the host of PGA tournament the Shriners Children's Open for five years, 2008 through 2012, while he is said to have invested with 8AM Golf, which recently bought a 35-percent stake in a Par 3 course in South Carolina. 

Ronan Keating - Handicap 11 

Having made a name for himself in the music industry with Boyzone, Ronan Keating is an avid golfer and he is a regular when it comes to featuring in celebrity Pro-Am events around the world. 

The Irishman, who is now a DJ on Magic Radio, often attends The Open championship, especially when it is held at some of Scotland's finest venues, while he also travels around the world to take in events.

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