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Nobody Leads at Pebble Beach

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Pat Perez is a nobody. Just ask him.
 
But if the 25-year-old Q-School medalist can continue to dominate the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am the way he has the first two days, hell be somebody quite soon.
 
Perez shot a 7-under 65 at Pebble Beach Friday to grab a four-shot lead heading into the weekend. Perez stands at 13-under 131. Lee Janzen, who shot 67 at Spyglass Hill, is alone in second place at 9-under.
 
Its the largest 36-hole lead at this event since 1973.
 
This isnt the first time Perez has held such an advantage on the Monterey Peninsula. He led by four shots with eight holes remaining in the Buy.Com Monterey Open, held on the Bayonet Course at nearby Fort Ord two years ago, but couldnt hold on.
 
He held a similar lead in Q-School that fall and failed to advance.
 
Those are the ones Id like to forget, he said.
 
You might be surprised Perez is leading such a prominent event by such a large margin, but not as much as he.
 
Perez battled a 103-degree fever earlier in the week, complaining to his practice partner, Charles Howell III, that he was so miserable he just wanted to go home.
 
I couldnt even move on Wednesday night, he said. I couldnt turn my neck, my whole body hurtI thought it was going to be a horrible week; the first two days would be a nightmare.
 
Instead, theyve proven to be fairytale.
 
Thanks to a heavy dosage of Nyquil, Perez was a new man Thursday morning. But even though hes now feeling better, hes not about to toss aside the sleep-inducing medicine.
 
I just popped two (Nyquil pills) on (hole) eight, actually, he said.
 
This is Perezs debut in the pro-am. But growing up at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, hes comfortable in his surroundings, especially on the rugged poa anna putting terrain.
 
These are actually better than what I grew up on, Perez said. Everybody complains about these greens and I guess Im just used to them.
 
I like coming up here, I just think the whole place is awesome.
 
He even enjoys the format.
 
Its a little different playing with amateurs, he said. Its kind of fun to talk with the amateurs and have fun out there and just kind of laugh around.
 
That ease translated into fantastic scoring for the second straight day. Coming off a 66 at Poppy Hills, Perez shot 6-under 30 on the front nine ' his final nine holes ' at Pebble Beach.
 
He recorded eight birdies to one bogey, and ended his day with a 35-foot bomb at the par-4 ninth.
 
Today, I woke up feeling pretty well, said Perez, who will next play Spyglass. I have been playing well, and it just feels great.
 
Now if he could just get a little recognition.
 
Perez played alongside 17-year-old media darling Ty Tryon over the first two rounds of last weeks Phoenix Open.
 
It was a circus, he said. You have 5,000, 6,000 people rooting for him. I would make birdie and you could hear the wind blow.
 
He didnt even get any love from the Arizona State University faithful.
 
I guess they dont know I went there, said Perez, who was a member of the 1996 NCAA national championship team. I figured it would be a little more, you know, ASU chanting and all that stuff because I went there, but thats okay.
 
Now that hes the leader through 36 holes at Pebble Beach, does he feel like somebody?
 
No. Still no, he said. I never feel like the favorite or the guy that everyone is looking at.
 
Thanks to his exploits this week, on and off the course, Perez is starting to gain a little notoriety.
 
I know he was the medalist at tour school. And hes faking a fever this week. Actually, I have a 104 degree fever, too, Janzen joked.
 
Janzen has plenty of recognition, but still yearns for the reputation deserving a two-time U.S. Open champion.
 
Winless since his last Open triumph at the Olympic Club in San Francisco in 1998, Janzen has taken numerous steps to better his game.
 
He switched in mid-December to MacGregor clubs. He says that, combined with his use of Callaways red ball, is adding 10 to 15 yards off the tee. Hes also toning up, having been on a fitness regimen over the past eight weeks.
 
His current physical appearance is a departure from that of several months ago, when, due to an intestinal virus, he dropped down to 165 lbs.
 
Ive gained a lot of weight back and feel better. Most of it I gained through working out, so Im in a lot better shape now, he said.
 
Unlike Perez, Janzens name atop the leaderboard doesnt come as a surprise. But the fact that hes here at all, does.
 
The reason Im playing is because I didnt want to have to make two trips to the west coast from Florida, said Janzen, who is making his second appearance in the last seven years because he doesn't like the weather and course conditions.
 
I just figured Id come out, play four tournaments and go home and get ready for Florida.
 
This is Janzens third start of the year. He missed the cut at the Bob Hope, but shot 64-64 on the weekend in Phoenix to tie for fourth.
 
Playing the toughest course in the rotation Friday, Janzen made five birdies and no bogeys. His final birdie of the day came at the par-4 second, his 11th hole of the day, with a 20-foot chip-in.
 
Full-field scores from the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am