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Mahan grabs share of lead at Pebble Beach

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 11:35 p.m.

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Hunter Mahan was bracing for the worst of Pebble Beach, his golf bag weighed down with rain gear and everything else to handle nasty weather.

Instead, he was reminded how much he loves this place.

It helps that Mahan drilled a 3-wood onto the 18th green for a two-putt birdie that gave him a 6-under -par 66 and a share of the lead to par with Russell Knox in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Better yet, the rain everyone was expecting early in the afternoon never showed up.

Mahan took advantage of a gorgeous day by attacking Pebble Beach, the place to be when the conditions are calm. He missed only two greens and had only one birdie attempt longer than 20 feet.

It was a good start, but nothing more. With three very different courses in the rotation, weather that can change without notice and one course with a different par, no one has a good idea where they stand until after three rounds on Saturday.

Knox made the most of his limited starts on the PGA Tour. He had a 6-under 64 on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. Knox finished out of the top 125 on the money list last year as a rookie, so his opportunities will be limited this year.

“I came in here with a lot of confidence because I feel like I've been playing very well,” Knox said. “It was nice to get off to a good start.”

The best round might have belonged to Seung-yul Noh of South Korea, who played at Spyglass Hill. It's typically the toughest of the three courses when conditions are benign, and such was the case on Thursday.

Pebble and Monterey Peninsula played nearly a half-shot under par, and Spyglass was almost a half-shot over par.

Noh reached 7 under until making bogeys on the last two holes for a 5-under 67.

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