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LEONARD, FLESCH TAKE EARLY ADVANTAGE

Justin Leonard and Steve Flesch combined for a 9-under 63 and a one-stroke lead over Hank Kuehne and Jeff Sluman on Friday after the first round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout.

Greg Norman and Scott McCarron had a 7-under 65 in the modified alternate-shot format, tied with John Daly and Rory Sabbatini.

Leonard and Flesch made six birdies on their first 10 holes and added birdies at 12, 14 and 17.

"Nobody was really under the gun off the tee box," Flesch said.

It was a team effort for the leaders as Flesch made five birdie putts, including a 30-footer from just off the fringe at No. 12, and Leonard added four.

"I think we have a lot of similarities in our games," Flesch said. "Not to say that either one of us are short hitters, but neither one of us are bombers like John Daly or whoever.

"On par-3s, we're hitting very similar clubs. I think we hit it about similar distances out of the fairway, too, and we drive it about the same."

Kuehne and Sluman got off to a fast start with four birdies on the front nine. They added two on the back nine.

"We literally could've been 9 under after nine," Kuehne said.

Norman, playing for the first time since reinjuring his back in August, was pleased with his performance.

"To me, it's just working a little bit, a little bit at a time every day," Norman said. "I got to the range this morning feeling fairly loose, believe it or not. When I started hitting a few drives, I started feeling pretty good about it."

The 12 two-man teams will play best ball today (1 p.m., Ch. 4) and a scramble in Sunday's final round.

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