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Kang, McGrane share lead in Perth

AMERICAN Anthony Kang, winner of last week's Malaysian Open on the Asian Tour, shot his second straight 5-under-par 67 to take a share of the lead yesterday at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth.

Kang had a 10-under 134 total on The Vines Resort composite course in the European, Asian and Australasian PGA-sanctioned tournament. He is tied with Ireland's Damien McGrane (68) who birdied the 18th to put him equal top of the leaderboard.

Kang and McGrane have a one-stroke lead over Spain's Ignacio Garrido, Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan and New Zealand amateur Danny Lee, all with 68s. Lee won last year's US Amateur championship.

Former world's No. 1 Greg Norman, playing in his first regular, non-senior tournament since finishing third in last year's British Open, won't play on the weekend after rounds of 75 and 71. His 2-over 146 was five strokes away from making the cut.

There were 27 players within three shots of the lead, including a nine-way tie for sixth at 136, two strokes off Kang and McGrane.

That group included American Ryder Cup player Anthony Kim after his second straight 68 and first-round leader Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands, who shot 72 after an opening 64.

European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie (70) was among a group of 13 tied for 15th three strokes off the lead. Also in that group were England's Ian Poulter (69) and Graeme Storm and South Africa's David Frost. Storm and Frost shot 64s, the low rounds of the day.

Korean origins

Kang and Kim share Korean origins as well as American citizenship but don't know much about each other. Kang plays mostly on the Asian Tour.

"He's obviously playing the best out of the Anthonys," Kim said, smiling.

"I don't know much about Anthony but know obviously he can play, and he's playing great right now. We'll wait until the weekend, and we'll talk about it after that's over," he said.

The 36-year-old Kang's Malaysian Open title at Kuala Lumpur was his first tournament win in eight years.

In Los Angeles, Phil Mickelson took a step toward shaking off his slump with a career-best 8-under 63 at Riviera and the lead in the Northern Trust Open on Thursday.

From 40 yards behind the 10th green and his ball buried in the rough, Mickelson barely cleared the bunker and settled 6 feet from the hole to start his day with a birdie. The round sent him to a one-shot lead, which Mickelson desperately needed after one of the worst starts to his career.

"It was one of the better shots I've hit this year," he said.

Scott McCarron birdied his last hole for a 64 to give himself another chance at a tournament where he has twice played in the final group without winning.

The group at 66 included Pebble Beach winner Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk, K.J. Choi and Luke Donald.

Riviera was in immaculate shape, and with ideal scoring conditions, 52 players shots in the 60s. That included Fred Couples and former Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger at 67.


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