PEBBLE BEACH -- A year ago, Charlie Wi made a valiant attempt at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to become the first golfer from Cal to win a PGA Tour event.
Alas, Wi finished second after being overtaken by hard-charging Phil Mickelson, and the Cal drought, perhaps not quite as well known as the Bears' long absence from the Rose Bowl in football, continued.
But Cal is giving it another run this year with 31-year-old Tour rookie James Hahn. Hahn backed up an opening-round 71 at Pebble Beach on Thursday with a 5-under 65 at Monterey Peninsula on Friday and was two shots back of the lead at the midway point.
The 5-under score was the second-best round of the day on all three courses despite Hahn missing some makable putts on three of his final four holes.
"The greens are rolling great, it's just a matter of reading them with the right speed," said Hahn, a native of South Korea who lives in Alameda. "I was just burning the edges, so hopefully they will fall this weekend."
It's been a memorable last nine months for Hahn. He qualified for the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club last summer as the medalist at the Harding Park qualifier, then wound up earning his first tour card since turning pro in 2003 by finishing fifth on the Nationwide Tour, now known as the Web.com Tour.
Hahn not only made the cut in all four prior tournaments he's played in 2013 but also tied for fourth at the Humana Challenge and added a tie for 16th at last week's Phoenix Open. He already has earned a nifty $352,796, which surpasses the amount of prize money he earned on satellite tours the past few years.
For good measure, he's suddenly an Internet sensation after doing a Gangnam-style dance routine after a long putt he sank in the Phoenix event. The video of Hahn's dance went viral, and now has more than 200,000 hits on YouTube.
Hahn wasn't ready to start thinking about ending Cal's dubious PGA Tour drought just yet, though.
"It's a marathon out there," he said. "Spyglass (Saturday), which is the toughest of the three, so hopefully I can get a good round out there and compete on the weekend."
As for Wi, he's tied for 39th after back-to-back rounds of 70.
"It just rolled over in a heel print or something," he said. "I didn't feel like I moved it. It was just a couple of feet for 3, and then after taking a penalty shot and making that, that was frustrating. I was hitting it so good."
Mahan pulled himself together and birdied the final two holes to stay close.
"To come back the way I did on 8 and 9 was good," he said. "I could have been pretty upset, but now I feel some momentum and I'm looking forward to the weekend."
He picked up only one more stroke on the front, however, and settled for a 6-under 66, which was still the best Friday round.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect is that Jacobson missed nearly six months of competition because of bulging disks in his back. So he wasn't exactly expecting to be one shot out of the lead at this point, particularly in chilly conditions.
"I guess when you have not played for a while, you don't play with any expectations apart from just really looking forward to getting going again," Jacobson said.