News for Thursday, March 24, 2011

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Blumenherst leads Kia Classic; Gal one back

Amanda Blumenherst birdied the final four holes for a 7-under 66 and a one-stroke lead over Germany’s Sanda Gal on Thursday in the Kia Classic.

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Five Things: Long-drive contest fizzles out

Instead of leaving galleries in awe, the powerful trio of Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland struggled Thursday at windswept Bay Hill.

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Levin continues strong play, leads at Bay Hill

On a tough and blustery day at Bay Hill, Spencer Levin made it look easy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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Late birdies vault Rock atop Andalucian Open

Robert Rock of England birdied five of his final eight holes for a 5-under 65 that tied him with four other players after the first round of the Andalucian Open on Thursday.

Wildman looks ahead: March 25-27

As the regular season winds down, so do the chances for bubble teams to climb the rankings. With a few weeks to go before conference championships begin, here are a few tournaments to tune in to over the weekend.

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Rude: Keep an eye on Mahan at Augusta

Even though he’s had a couple of chipping breakdowns in the past six months (at the Ryder Cup and WGC-Accenture Match Play) and a good short game is vital at Augusta National, Hunter Mahan merits occupancy on the early short list of 2011 Masters threats.

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Notes: Laird fixing swing on the fly

Think the importance of swing coaches is overstated? Then consider the case of Martin Laird, who’s having success this season while seeing less of his instructors.

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Play the EA Sports Virtual Challenge and win!

Now on Golfweek.com: Play the EA SPORTS Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online challenge and win great weekly prizes! This week: Nos. 16, 17 and 18 at Bay Hill. Do you have game?