Marino grabs four-shot lead at Pebble Beach

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Marino grabs four-shot lead at Pebble Beach

Feb. 11, 2011
LEADERBOARD
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) Steve Marino is too busy soaking in the scenery and atmosphere at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to get worked up over his four-shot lead going into the weekend.Marino made only one mistake - with his conversation and his clubs - on the par-5 14th for his only bogey of the tournament. He followed with three birdies over the last four holes for a 7-under 66 and a comfortable lead."This tournament is kind of strange," said Marino, who was at 13-under 141. "You play a different course every day. You're playing with amateur partners. It's a little more low key and laid back."That's just the way Marino likes it, and it shows. He has the low round of the tournament on both courses he has played, having opened with a 65 at Spyglass Hill.D.A. Points doesn't have that luxury, not with Bill Murray as his amateur partner. Points struggled from the start at Spyglass Hill and was slipping down the leaderboard until running off four birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn. He salvaged a 70 and was four shots behind at 9-under par.Points worried for a moment that Murray started to feel the pressure - they opened the pro-am portion tied for the lead - and perhaps tried to tone down his antics."Bill was struggling a little today, so he was maybe down on himself," Points said. "We still had a great time."Next up for the celebrity rotation is Pebble Beach on Saturday, when the show is as much about the amateurs as the pros. Points says he plays his best when there are plenty of distractions, although he's not about to wish for more than he can handle."I'm not going to feed the beast," he said.Keegan Bradley had an impressive gallery of his own. He is the nephew of LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley, who followed him along Spyglass as the rookie shot a 69 to finish at 8-under par. Bradley was born in 1986, the year his famous aunt won three of four majors."Pat and I have a lot of similarities in our game, in our approach to the game, our work ethic," he said. "I look up to her in a lot of different ways, and that's one of the ways. I try to emulate her toughness and work ethic."The large group at 7-under par included Padraig Harrington, who played with Marino; Hunter Mahan, Nick Watney and Sam Saunders, whose grandfather is among the owners of Pebble Beach - Arnold Palmer.Even with a four-shot lead, Marino won't know until Sunday how he really stands because of the three courses in the rotation. Still ahead of him is the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula, where Points opened with a 63. The fairways are running fast at the Shore, and some players have said the greens are a little bumpy.That didn't stop David Duval on Friday. After opening with a birdie-free 77 at Pebble, he followed that with a 65 at Monterey Peninsula.Dustin Johnson, trying to become the first player to win three straight times at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, is more interested in making the cut. He had a 1-under at Spyglass Hill and was two shots below the projected playing cut - not to mention 13 shots behind Marino.Phil Mickelson did a much better job with a 67 at Spyglass, moving him to 4 under for the tournament.Marino, though, looks tough to beat at the moment.He knocked in a 15-foot birdie putt on the 13th, then made a mental error. After he and Harrington hit their tee shots on the 14th, they started reminiscing about the U.S. Open last summer, when the 14th was one of the toughest holes at Pebble Beach."It was silly," Harrington said. "We were talking about how tough this was at the U.S. Open, and that we both had made four pars and could have sold that to half the field. And then we both made a mess of it."Marino was in the right rough after his second shot, still a good angle at the flag. But his wedge ran up the ledge of the steep bunker and turned left instead of right, tumbling into the sand. He did well to blast out to 12 feet and narrowly missed the par putt.Harrington hit a fat shot with his sand wedge and plugged into the bunker. He hit a beautiful shot, running up the side of the bunker to see how it turned out just as it ran off the back of the green and down the slope. He had to scramble for a bogey on his way to a 68, a round he felt was much better than his score.The Irishman made pars the rest of the way. Marino poured it on.He stuffed his next shot into 5 feet for birdie, rolled in a 20-foot putt up the slope on the 16th and finished with a bunker shot to 15 feet and one last birdie.Along the way, Marino soaked up spectacular views of yet another sunny, mild day along the Pacific.He is the only American in an otherwise all-Irish group that features businessmen J.P. McManus and Dermot Desmond. Marino still isn't sure how he got invited to the McManus charity pro-am event last year - an event so popular that even Tiger Woods made the trip - but calls it one of the best weeks of the year."I think he had a good time," Desmond said. "He seems to be Irish. He's always smiling, and at the same time he has a fantastic golf game. He's got a great temperament. Even when he bogeyed the 14th, he didn't get irritated. He just said, 'I have to get that one back.' And he got it back."

Crawford strains right groin in eighth inning of Giants' 2-1 loss to Dodgers

Crawford strains right groin in eighth inning of Giants' 2-1 loss to Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO — Brandon Crawford was always going to miss the final two games of this series to attend the funeral of his sister-in-law. The Giants are now hoping an MRI result shows that Crawford won’t miss any time beyond his three days on bereavement leave. 

Crawford pulled up with a right groin strain as he rounded first on a base hit in the eighth. After jogging a bit in the outfield, he was pulled from the game. 

“It tightened up,” Crawford said. “I haven’t really felt anything like that before. I’ve never really had anything like this before. It just felt tight. I didn’t feel a pop or anything, and from what I hear, that’s good news.”

Crawford’s liner off Kenley Jansen sent Buster Posey from first to third. Cody Bellinger's throw went into third and Crawford was busting it for second when his leg shut down. He said he could feel the pain in his groin as he tried to run it off. 

“(Trainer Dave Groeschner) told me it wasn’t a great idea to try and push it,” Crawford said. 

Ordinarily, the Giants would send Crawford for an MRI on Wednesday, but he is flying down to Los Angeles for two days of services. Crawford originally told manager Bruce Bochy that he could be back in time for Friday’s game, but the Giants — already playing without Denard Span and with a short bench — were planning to put Crawford on the bereavement list and call up an extra position player. 

Eduardo Nuñez moved over to short in the ninth and he’s Crawford’s primary backup. Christian Arroyo, called up Monday, can also play the position. The Giants have Kelby Tomlinson and Orlando Calixte on the 40-man and one of them is likely to join the team Wednesday. 

--- Arroyo and Bellinger are two of the NL West’s top prospects, and they got their first big league hits on the same night. Arroyo got a first-pitch fastball at the letters from Clayton Kershaw and roped it into left field. 

“I figured he would come at me,” Arroyo said. “I said, ‘Hey man, see a heater and take a good swing at it.’ I just envisioned getting (a big league hit) but I didn’t think it would be off a guy the caliber of Kershaw. In the moment I was excited. That’s something you don’t forget.”

Arroyo’s family won’t forget it, either. His parents and two younger siblings were here and they went nuts as Arroyo rounded first. That’s always a cool moment. 

--- Ty Blach has three big league hits and all of them are off Kershaw. 

“Sometimes you just swing hard and get lucky, I guess,” he said. 

There’s only one active pitcher who has more hits against Kershaw than Blach. That’s Madison Bumgarner, who has taken him deep twice. A year ago, Bumgarner walked into the video room and asked Matt Duffy if he wanted advice on hitting Kershaw. On Tuesday, he gave Blach some advice. 

“Madison before the game came up and said he’s going to throw you up and in because he threw it low and away last (year),” Blach said. “I was looking for a pitch in that vicinity.”

Bumgarner knows Kershaw well. Blach got a fastball up and he knocked it over a drawn-in outfield for a double. 

--- We’re 10 paragraphs into this story without a score. The Giants lost 2-1, but it’s hard to dissect this one too much. When the Dodgers get 25 outs from Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, they’re going to win that game nine out of 10 times. 

Kershaw lowered his season ERA to 2.29. The Giants gave him a little bit of trouble early, but he turned it on in the middle innings. 

“He settled in and he was as tough as he normally is,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “The thing you hope is to create some chances. We had a couple.”

The eventual winning run came across on a strange play in the fourth. With runners on the corners, Adrian Gonzalez hit a bouncer to first. Posey looked Justin Turner back to third and then threw to Crawford at second for one out. Crawford spun and fired a strike home to try and get Turner, who had taken off. The throw skipped in the dirt and Nick Hundley couldn’t handle it. Turner made it 2-1, and that was that. 

Bochy said he had no problem with how that play went down. All the decisions were right, it was just a tough double-play to pull off. 

“I’d like to say I should have made a better throw but I got rid of it as fast as I could and I put as much on it as I could,” Crawford said. 

The Giants were a couple inches behind Turner on Tuesday. On Monday, they were just ahead of him, with Posey picking him off second to end the game. It’s been that type of series between these two.

--- I saw a lot of grumbling on Twitter about Yasmani Grandal pulling balls back into the strike zone in the late innings. Be careful what you wish for, Giants fans. Posey might be the best pitch-framer in the game. Any change that would keep guys like Grandal from fooling umps would hurt the Giants more than most.

 

Jazz hold off Clippers in Game 5, take 3-2 series lead

Jazz hold off Clippers in Game 5, take 3-2 series lead

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES -- Gordon Hayward scored 27 points, Utah controlled the paint, and the Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers 96-92 on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Hayward returned after missing most of Utah's win in Game 4 because of food poisoning that caused him to lose weight and energy.

Chris Paul's 3-pointer drew the Clippers within two with 5 seconds left. After George Hill hit two free throws, Paul struggled getting the ball under control near the sideline and couldn't do anything as time expired.

The Jazz made five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including three by Rodney Hood, who finished with 16 points.

Paul led the Clippers with 28 points and J.J. Redick added 26 with injured star Blake Griffin watching from the bench, his right foot encased in a black walking boot.

The Jazz can clinch the series with a victory in Game 6 on Friday night in Salt Lake City.

The Clippers rallied from an 11-point deficit early in the fourth to tie the game. They made 12 of 15 free throws in the final period, but never managed to take the lead.

Paul and Hayward were called for double technical fouls with 40 seconds to go. Paul had already pushed Hayward in the back after they got tied up scrambling for a rebound in front of Utah's bench. Hayward made both shots for a 90-85 lead.

Joe Johnson's step back jumper extended Utah's lead to 92-87.

Neither team shot well, but the Jazz were better at most everything else. They owned a 34-28 edge in the paint, and the team that has done so has won each of the first five games in the best-of-7 series.

Utah outscored the Clippers on second-chance and fast-break baskets.

Utah took the game's first double-digit lead early in the fourth on a 3-pointer by Hood that made it 69-58.

The Clippers clawed back with an 11-0 run featuring five straight free throws by Redick and two consecutive 3-pointers from Paul that tied the game at 69-all.

Suddenly, the quiet crowd was on its feet cheering and Utah called time out.

The Jazz regrouped to take a 77-69 lead. They ran off eight straight, capped by Haywood's 3-pointer after the Clippers' defense shut down Hill inside and forced him to pass out to the perimeter with the shot clock winding down.

TIP-INS:
Jazz: Neither team has won by more than eight points so far in the series.

Clippers: Griffin's injured big right toe needs further evaluation before it's decided whether he'll require surgery. ... G Austin Rivers played 17 minutes in his return from a strained left hamstring. He was 0 of 4 and had two points. ... They fell to 1-11 all-time in Game 5 of a playoff series that was tied 2-2.