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SABBATINI AGAIN TAMES HARD COURSE

Rory Sabbatini continued to make a difficult course look easy Friday, getting birdies at Nos. 15-17 for his second 3-under 67 and a two-shot lead over Zach Johnson at the Bridgestone Invitational.

Sabbatini is at 6-under 134. Only eight are below par.

Tiger Woods, at four back, was one after shooting 70. He made only two birdies despite hitting 15 greens in regulation, and those were wiped out by a pair of three-putts from about 35 feet. "The (greens) looked fast," he said. "But for some reason, they putted a little bit slower than I thought they did (Thursday)."

Paul Casey and Hunter Mahan, who shared the first-round lead with Sabbatini, are not among the eight. They shot 73s and are six back. Mahan's only birdie came at 18. Casey had five birdies but four bogeys and double bogeys at Nos. 4 and 18.

Johnson, the Masters champ, attributed his 65 to hitting fairways and putts. The greens were as fast as Augusta, he said, but he had another major on his mind.

"Some of the guys were joking around at lunch that this is one of those courses where if the U.S. Open needed an emergency course, I think you could probably come here," he said.

Sabbatini got hot after bogey at 14. He holed a 20-foot birdie at the par-3 15th, laid up at 16 and made a 15-foot birdie, and hit an 8-iron at 17 to about 12 feet.

"It's a matter of picking and choosing your targets," he said. "There are opportunities you have to be aggressive. But you have to kind of back down and just give the course respect. Otherwise, it'll hit you pretty quick."

CHAMPIONS: Tom Jenkins and Jim Thorpe shot 8-under 64 for the first-round lead at the 3M Championship in Blaine, Minn. Among 78 players, 57 broke par, including six who sat one back. Jenkins and Thorpe had three birdies on the front nine and five on the back.

EUROPEAN: Per-Ulrik Johansson had 10 birdies, including five in a row, for 10-under 62 and the second-round lead at 13-under 131 at the Russian Open in Nakhabino. Only 58 of 119 completed the round before rain fell. Among the 58, Jesus Maria Arruti (68) and Christopher Hanell (65) were second, seven back. First-round leader Christian Nilsson was at 7 under through No. 6.

FUTURES: Clearwater's Jenny Gleason shot 4-under 68 for a share of the first-round lead at the USI Championship in Concord, N.H. Three others also shot 68 to start the three-round event.

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