Marino Takes One-Shot Lead at ATT

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AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. -- Steve Marino used to consider it a treat the few times he played Congressional as a teenager. It was a thrill on Thursday to play bogey-free in the first round of the AT&T National and shoot 5-under 65 for a one-shot lead.
 
Marino, who grew up a half-hour away in Fairfax, Va., birdied three of his opening four holes, never had a par putt longer than 5 feet and finished off his round with an 8-foot birdie to be in the lead after any round for only the second time in his career.
 
I played a bunch of junior golf growing up here, all over the D.C. area, so it feels great to get off to this good start, Marino said. And Im looking forward to the rest of the week.
 
Its already been a big week for Jeff Overton and Frank Lickliter, who were among those at 66.
 
Overton had missed six of his last seven cuts, working harder than ever with nothing to show for it, until the 36-hole qualifier Monday outside Detroit for the British Open. He was the medalist, earning his first trip to a major.
 
It just carried over from there, he said.
 
Lickliter, whose wife gave birth to twin sons in January, took them to Christ Church in Georgetown to have Storm and Steel christened.
 
It was fantastic, he said. We celebrated all day, so there went practice on Wednesday.
 
But it must have been inspirational for Lickliter, who had not made a cut in his last six tournaments dating to the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. After four birdies on his front nine, he recovered from a pair of bogeys with consecutive bogeys, including a 5-iron that was among the best he ever hit.
 
He hit a big drive on the 522-yard sixth hole, converted to a par 4 for this tournament, then hit a 5-iron from 210 yards over the water to about 12 feet from the flag.
 
Best shot Ive hit in the last four years, he said.
 
Rod Pampling and Bob Estes also were at 66, while the large group at 67 including Anthony Kim and Notah Begay III, a teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford who received one of the sponsors exemptions.
 
Woods, the tournament host and star attraction on the PGA TOUR, is out for the rest of the year recovering from knee surgery. Thursdays attendance in gorgeous weather was 17,000, which was 1,345 fewer than last year when the AT&T National made its debut.
 
It didnt look that big, perhaps because the fans were scattered among various groups.
 
Among the most vocal were following Marino, which doesnt happen to him anywhere else on the PGA TOUR.
 
I got some crazy friends that came out to watch me this week, he said. And today, I think its safe to say it was probably going to be the mildest day, especially if I keep playing well. I know tomorrow is July 4th, and Im teeing off in the afternoon. So that gives them plenty of time for to get looped up.
 
Theyre rowdy, but it definitely feels good to have them out there supporting me.
 
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