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Crowded at the top at Pebble

STRIKING RANGE: Former world No.  1 David Duval is within one shot of the lead after 68 at Pebble Beach.

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STRIKING RANGE: Former world No.  1 David Duval is within one shot of the lead after 68 at Pebble Beach.

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Given the talent on tour, Paul Goydos is not the least bit surprised that six players were tied for the lead Friday at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Being part of that group? Under the circumstances, Goydos found that highly unusual.

He got to Spyglass Hill and headed to the putting green, only to realize he wasn't wearing golf shoes. He left those in his car in the main parking lot at Pebble Beach. Then, he had to tackle a course where he had never broken 70.

More than five hours and seven birdies later, he had shot 7-under 65 and was part of an eclectic mix atop the leaderboard on a day when the threat of showers gave way to sunshine along the Monterey Peninsula.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson was the biggest presence, even after 2-under 68 at Monterey Peninsula in which he kept hitting it close for birdie and tapping in for par.

Also at 10-under 132 were Alex Cejka (67 at Spyglass), Bryce Molder (65 at Monterey), J.B. Holmes (67 at Monterey). Matt Jones had 67 at Pebble Beach and, at 10-under 134, was the only one among the leaders who has not played the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula, the newcomer to the rotation and the only course playing as a par 70 this week.

All three courses had one thing in common in the PGA Tour event.

"There is no defense on any of these golf courses," Goydos said, noting that while the rain has stayed away, so has the wind that can make some of these seaside venues so tough.

David Duval was one shot out of the lead. The former No. 1 player in the world was No. 882 last summer when he tied for second in the U.S. Open, though he hasn't done much since.

After 67 at Spyglass, Duval shot 68 at Pebble Beach to stay in the hunt.

"I'm hitting the ball pretty good. Had to shake a few putts in on these greens," he said. "Kind of the recipe you need to have out here."

STILL NO WOODS: Speculation on Tiger Woods' returning next week at the Match Play Championship in Arizona ended quietly when the PGA Tour released its 64-man field minus the No. 1 player. That was the tournament where he made his comeback a year ago from knee surgery.

CHAMPIONS: Only nine of 81 players finished the first round of the ACE Group Classic in Naples as high winds (with gusts up to 40 mph) suspended play.

Crowded at the top at Pebble 02/12/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 12, 2010 9:57pm]
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