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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports


American Marino pulls away from field at Pebble Beach

Posted: 11 Feb 2011 06:28 PM PST

PEBBLE BEACH, Feb 12 — American Steve Marino took advantage of glorious weather and the relaxed playing format to surge four strokes clear in the second round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am yesterday.

Co-leader overnight with compatriot D.A. Points, Marino fired a sparkling six-under-par 66 at the Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of three venues being used for this week's PGA Tour event.

The 30-year-old Marino, still bidding for a maiden title in his fifth full season on the U.S. circuit, birdied three of his last four holes for a 13-under total of 131.

Points carded a two-under 70 at Spyglass Hill to lie second with fellow American Keegan Bradley a further stroke back at eight-under 134 after a 69, also on the Spyglass layout.

Irishman Padraig Harrington, playing his first event on the 2011 PGA Tour, was among a group of 10 players knotted at seven under after shooting a six-birdie 68 at Pebble Beach.

On a picture-perfect day with barely a breath of wind at Pebble Beach, Marino (picture) compiled matching loops of three-under 33 to take control at the tournament's midway point.

"I've hit the ball great and my short game has been great," he told reporters after cementing his place at the top of the leaderboard with a sizzling birdie-birdie-par-birdie finish.

"Really hasn't been a weakness to my game over the last two days. I've just capitalised on most of my opportunities."

LEADING FEELING

With the players required to play one round on each of the three venues over the first three days, Marino said he did not really feel like a tournament leader.

"It's too early to look ahead," he added. "I've got one more round left at a different golf course, so I'm not really feeling it at all right now.

"Come Saturday night, if I'm in the same position I am right now, it's definitely going to feel different. Right now I'm just looking forward to playing Monterey Peninsula tomorrow."

Marino has been a runner-up three times in his PGA Tour career but made his biggest splash so far when he shared the 36-hole lead with Tom Watson at the 2009 British Open.

"It gave me a lot confidence knowing I could compete and lead in a major championship," he recalled of his play at Turnberry in Scotland where he eventually tied for 38th.

Three-times major winner Harrington, who made multiple changes to his swing during the off-season, felt his 68 did not reflect how well he had played in the company of Marino.

"I should be a few better," he said. "But it's been very relaxed. It's so easy to play good golf when you're playing partner is playing well and you see him making birdies."

World number four Phil Mickelson, a three-times winner at Pebble Beach, fired a flawless five-under 67 at Spyglass Hill to climb up the leaderboard into a tie for 24th at four under.

Fellow American Dustin Johnson, champion here for the last two years, returned a 71 at Spyglass to lie a distant 13 strokes off the pace. — Reuters

 

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Clijsters taking over as world number one again

Posted: 11 Feb 2011 05:57 PM PST

Kim Clijsters (left) of Belgium holds the trophy for being WTA world number one, as she celebrates with retired former French number one Amelie Mauresmo, after her victory at the Paris Open on February 11, 2011. — Reuters pic

PARIS, Feb 12 — Belgium's Kim Clijsters will become world number one next week for the first time since 2006 after she reached the Paris Open semi-finals yesterday.

The Australian Open champion has gained enough ranking points to go above Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki who is not in action this week. — Reuters


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