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Golf roundup: Hunter Mahan, Russell Knox on top at Pebble Beach

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.

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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 with Russell Knox in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

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

So when Mahan was asked about the most interesting part of the day, all he could think of was that it was boring — in a good way.

‘‘I had a good time with my partner. The pace was great. The weather was good,’’ he said. ‘‘I think the most interesting thing was we had perfect weather when it was supposed to rain at noon. We were all expecting rain. The bag probably weighs 100 pounds right now.’’

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 — one of those on the edge — and only had one birdie attempt longer than 20 feet.

Knox, who grew up in northern Scotland and has family roots in California, 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.

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, while 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, which only slightly soured his day. He still had the best score at Spyglass.

The day was not without a few adventures.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among the newest members at Augusta National, beaned a spectator on the sixth hole. Dustin Johnson, a two-time winner at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, had a four-putt on his way to a 3-over 73 at Monterey Peninsula. John Daly had a three-putt from 3 feet on the seventh hole and took four to get down from about 18 feet just off the ninth green. He had a 77.

Vijay Singh had a 72 at Pebble Beach, evidence that the PGA Tour still has not decided whether he will be suspended for using deer-antler spray, according to a Sports Illustrated report and later confirmed by Singh’s statement last week in Phoenix.

Phil Mickelson, going after a record-tying fifth win in this tournament, couldn’t make as many putts at Monterey Peninsula as he did in his wire-to-wire win at Phoenix last week.

He opened with a 69 at Monterey Peninsula.

European — Maximilian Kiefer and Richard Sterne shot 8-under 63s to share the lead after the first round of the Joburg Open in Johannesburg.

Bryce Easton had a 7-under 65. American Peter Uihlein was one of eight players tied for fourth at 6 under.

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