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Garrigus and Johnson share lead

AMERICAN Robert Garrigus covered his last three holes in a scintillating 4 under par to grab a share of the first-round lead in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in California on Thursday.

Taking advantage of calm conditions on the picturesque Monterey Peninsula, Garrigus fired a flawless 7 under 65 at Spyglass Hill, one of three venues being used this week.

A storming eagle-birdie-birdie finish put Garrigus level with fellow American Dustin Johnson, who started out on the easier Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Americans Rich Beem, winner of the 2002 PGA Championship, and Vaughn Taylor carded matching 66s at Pebble Beach while long-haired Charley Hoffman returned a 66 at Spyglass Hill.

While most of the big names in the field failed to make an early impact, Garrigus birdied the 11th, 13th and 17th to reach the turn in three-under 33.

He then struck a five-iron from 210 yards to 50 feet at the par-five seventh, where he coolly rolled in the eagle putt, before holing out from eight and 15 feet to birdie the eighth and ninth.

"It was kind of nice to finish with a blaze there," Garrigus, 31, told reporters. "It's one of those deals where you're trying to shoot a score but it was so wet out there today and the greens were bumpy a little bit towards the end."

With the greens softened by overnight rain, big hitters like Garrigus and Johnson were always likely to have an advantage in the opening round.

"I look forward to golf courses playing long because if I'm putting well, I'm hitting short irons in when other guys aren't," Garrigus said. "I hit it well today."

Garrigus, who regained his fully exempt status on the PGA Tour by finishing sixth at the qualifying tournament in December, was delighted to play the most difficult course first.

"That's where I'd like to shoot a good number because at Pebble you can scrape it around and shoot a couple or three under," he said. "If you scrape it around at Spyglass, you're not going to shoot three or four under."

Johnson, who won his maiden PGA Tour title at last year's Turning Stone Resort Championship in his rookie season, soared to the top of the leaderboard with an eagle and five birdies.


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