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A different tale at Torrey

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SAN DIEGO – The last time Chris Kirk was at Torrey Pines he was a fresh-faced amateur from the University of Georgia who was as intimidated by the moment as he was the thick U.S. Open rough and demanding South Course.

How times have changed.

Kirk, who finished last among the players who made the cut at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, is pacing the field this time at the seaside muni at 10 under through five holes on Friday.

It’s almost enough to break the rookie out of his normal stoic routine. On Wednesday Kirk told “Shag Bag” he’s low key on the golf course, rarely showing emotion and almost never going so far as to fist pump a good shot.

On Thursday when he chipped in for eagle at the North Course’s par-4 second hole he couldn’t help himself. “Yeah, I fist pumped before I knew what I was doing,” he smiled.