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January 27 2011

7:27 PM

TOUR rookies among leaders

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- There's an interesting mix at the top of the leaderboard -- including two PGA TOUR rookies, one from Argentina and another from Korea.

Fabian Gomez and Sung-hoon Kang are among five players tied at 3 under, one stroke off the pace being set by Brandt Jobe. Gomez has played seven holes on the South Course while Kang is though six on the north.

The 32-year-old Gomez, who is from Argentina, is playing in his third TOUR event. He won his first Nationwide Tour event last year and also had a runner-up finish on the way to finishing 12th on the money list to earn his card.

Gomez started caddying when he was 8 years old and has won five events in South America. He's made his first two cuts on TOUR, tying for 68th in Hawaii and 61st at the Bob Hope Classic.

Kang earned his TOUR card when he tied for 16th at q-school in December. The 24-year-old has played on the Korean Tour, Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour -- with a career-best finish of second at the 2009 Ballantine's Championship.

Kang's father is an avid golfer and his brother serves as his caddie. He works with Hank Haney and Don Brown and reached the semifinals of both the U.S. Junior and U.S. Amateur Public Links.

Both rookies list Tiger woods as one of their two favorite athletes -- Kang also likes Kobe Bryant while Gomez is a fan of soccer great Diego Maradona. Who knows? Maybe they'll get to play with Woods this week. – Helen Ross

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