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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 6, 2010

Kim, Villegas roll to top of Honda


Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Camilo Villegas

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The temperature climbed, the winds calmed, and PGA National unexpectedly lost a great deal of its bite.

Welcome to the kinder, gentler Honda Classic.

Anthony Kim was one of four players to match the best Honda round shot on the Champion course with a 64, Camilo Villegas shot 66 for the second straight day, and they were tied at 8-under 132 atop the leaderboard after the second round yesterday of the Honda at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

"Trust me, it's a tough golf course," Villegas said.

Maybe so, but since the Honda moved to the Jack Nicklaus redesign in 2007, there's never been an easier day to get around.

Vijay Singh (66) was a stroke back at 7 under and Jerry Kelly (65) was alone in fourth at 6 under.

Thursday was marked by wind gusts over 30 mph; yesterday merely had occasionally strong breezes and little else.

Entering yesterday, there had been 1,445 competitive Honda rounds played at PGA National, with just two rounds of 64: Luke Donald in 2008 and Greg Chalmers in 2009. Yesterday alone, there were four with Stephen Ames, Paul Casey, Weir and Kim all getting there.

AUTO RACING

EARNHARDT JR. ON POLE IN ATLANTA

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is on the pole for the first time in nearly two years. He's hoping it will lead to Victory Lane.

Earnhardt claimed the pole last night for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton with a blistering speed of 192.761 mph. It will be the first time Junior has taken green at the head of a Sprint Cup field since the April 2008 race at Texas.

"It's good to be on the pole and I'm real proud of it," Earnhardt said. "Getting a pole anywhere is good for our team. We're so hungry to do well on Sunday."

Earnhardt hasn't won a race since June 15, 2008, at Michigan.

Kyle Busch (192.280) will start from the outside of the front row, beating out Juan Pablo Montoya (192.106).

TENNIS

SERBIA TAKES 2-0 ADVANTAGE ON U.S.

Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki won matches yesterday as Serbia took a 2-0 lead against the United States in their Davis Cup first-round match at Belgrade.

Second-ranked Djokovic struggled past Sam Querrey, 6-2, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3; while Troicki beat John Isner, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4.

Djokovic needed five match points to win, converting with a forehand drive after 3 hours, 21 minutes.

Isner hit 21 aces but Troicki converted his fourth match point with a crosscourt volley after 3 hours, 36 minutes.

Today's doubles features top-ranked Bob and Mike Bryan against Serbia's Nenad Zimonjic and Janko Tipsarevic.

ELSEWHERE

Golf: Bob Tway, Chein Soon Lu and Mark Wiebe shot 6-under 65s to share the first-round lead in the Toshiba Classic at Newport Beach, Calif., leaving Champions Tour newcomer Fred Couples a stroke back. Olin Browne, Lonnie Nielsen and Mike Goodes matched Couples at 66.

• American Amanda Blumenherst shot a 3-under 69 for a share of the second-round lead with South Korea's Lim Ji-na in the ANZ Ladies Masters at Gold Coast, Australia. Lim shot a 66 to match Blumenherst at 9-under 135 at Royal Pines.

• Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat topped the leaderboard at 9 under with four holes left in his second round in the rain-delayed Malaysian Open at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Spain's Alejandro Canizares (69) followed at 8 under.

College basketball: Cornell became the first team this season to earn an NCAA tournament bid, clinching its third straight Ivy League championship by beating Brown, 95-76, last night with a record-tying display of 3-point shooting at Providence, R.I.

The Big Red (26-4, 12-1) made 20 of 30 attempts from 3-point range and held Brown (11-19, 5-8) to 30 percent shooting in the second half.

Jon Jacques scored 20 points for Cornell, which tied an Ivy League record for 3s in a game.

Baseball: Mets shortstop Jose Reyes plans to undergo tests in New York after doctors in Florida discovered a thyroid imbalance, the team said yesterday.

Reyes will have tests Monday and it could take up to 48 hours after for doctors to receive the results. Reyes is not expected to take part in any physical activity while he is gone.