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Mahan loses cushion but heads into weekend with one-shot lead at Doral

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By Doug Ferguson
Associated Press
Friday, March 11, 2011; 7:37 PM

DORAL, Fla. -- Martin Kaymer is the new No. 1 in golf and getting the same kind of respect another No. 1 once did.

Never mind that Hunter Mahan had a one-shot lead going into the weekend of the Cadillac Championship after stumbling with a pair of bogeys in the final hour of his second round Friday for a 1-under 71.

It was the guy right behind him who made some players take notice.

Kaymer opened his season with an eight-shot win in Abu Dhabi. He went to the top of the ranking by reaching the final of the Match Play Championship. And in his first start as No. 1., he eased his way to a bogey-free 70 to get within one shot of the lead halfway through this World Golf Championship.

"That's why he's world No. 1," Rory McIlroy said.

McIlroy had a 69, and was two shots out of the lead. That's not what concerned him.

"Even though Hunter is a couple of shots ahead of me, to give Martin a stroke lead is going to be pretty tough to sort of keep up with him," McIlroy said.

The 26-year-old "Germanator" is starting to establish a presence on the leaderboard, much like Tiger Woods did for so many years.

For now, Woods is having to settle for middle of the pack.

Mahan, who has played beautifully for two days on the Blue Monster and was at 9-under 135, had a four-shot lead on the back nine until his long three-putt bogey on the 14th and a poor tee shot that led to bogey on the 16th. That cost him a cushion, but not the lead.

He will be in the final group with Kaymer. Francesco Molinari, going for his second World Golf Championship, had a 68 and joined Kaymer at 8 under.

"I hit a lot of good shots, just didn't finish as strong as I would have hoped," Mahan said. "But I'm pretty happy with where I am."


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