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Els Drives to Lead at Mercedes

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KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Ernie Els doesnt believe hes owed anything at the Mercedes Championships, despite a pair of near misses in the event.
 
Instead, he plans on just taking what he wants.
 
Els followed an opening 64 with an 8-under 65 to open up a three-stroke lead through two rounds of the years first tournament.
 
Els established a new tournament 36-hole scoring record at 17-under-par 129. Bob Estes, who had his second straight 66 Friday, is alone in second place at 14-under. K.J. Choi (67) of South Korea is two shots further removed.
 
I just felt like I needed to be aggressive again today, Els said. Just go after my shots, play the way I know I can.
 
Els made six birdies and one eagle in the second round. He pitched in from off the green at the ninth to notch his third 3 on a par-5 in two days.
 
With no wind, most of them downwind, I mean, you can hit short-irons into them. You really have to take advantage, Els said.
 
Once again, Mother Nature opted to go sightseeing around the island of Maui instead of disturbing the players on the par-73 Plantation Course.
 
The trade winds were no more than a light breeze for the second straight day, rendering the venue defenseless.
 
Only two of the 36 players in the field failed to break par Friday.
 
Jim Furyk, who shared the overnight lead with Els, did finish the round in the red, but barely. The 2001 champion, who owns a home off the 18th fairway, shot 1-under 72 and is now seven off the pace at 10-under-par 136.
 
The wind is expected to make an appearance Saturday, and if it comes it will be arriving from the opposite direction for which the course was designed.
 
With the north wind coming tomorrow, its going to make it a little bit more difficult, Els said. Ive never really played in that wind. It will be a new challenge for me.
 
Something thats not new to Els is having a cushion going into the weekend in this event. He led by four strokes with two rounds to play two years ago, only to shoot 73 in the third round and eventually tie for third. In 2000, he was runner-up to Tiger Woods in a frenetic finish.
 
Its not the easiest thing to go to sleep on a lead every night, Els said.
 
The last two times I was here I just got beat. The guys played better than I did. Ive got to be watching out for them again the next couple of days.
 
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