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Marsh Takes Lead at MasterCard Classic

March 6, 2004

HUIXQUILUCAN, Mexico (AP) _ Graham Marsh of Australia shot a 6-under 66 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the MasterCard Classic.

The 60-year-old Marsh had five birdies on the front nine and two birdies and a bogey on the back to move to 8-under 136, one stroke ahead of Hugh Baiocchi of South Africa.

``I stayed out of trouble,″ Marsh said. ``With this golf course, if you stray it’s not a bogey, it’s a double or triple bogey.″

Baiocchi birdied the 18th to finish with a 66.

``It was a case of making some good puts and not wasting opportunities,″ he said. ``I was hitting all the fairways and greens and wasn’t struggling.″

Baiocchi said he would have to perform well Sunday to overtake Marsh.

``It’ll be hard to beat him because he’s not going to beat himself,″ Baiocchi said. ``If I shoot another 6-under 66, I’ve got a good chance.″

Jay Sigel had seven birdies, but made double bogey at 14th and finished at 3-under 69. He was two strokes behind the leader at 6 under.

Tom Kite (68) and Jim Ahearn (70) were tied for fourth at 140, and Hale Irwin was another stroke back after a 71.

The Bosque Real Country Club course, which is 8,100 feet above sea level, is playing about 200 yards longer than last year, and the pros say it is playing tougher.

``Adjusting is difficult,″ Baiocchi said. ``At this altitude it’s always a bit of a guessing game.″

First-round leader Andy Bean had a double bogey and two bogeys Saturday, following an opening 67 with a 2-over 74.

Only 15 of 78 players beat par in the second round, compared to 32 last year.

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