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Golf: Bae back on top at Riviera

Bae Sang-Moon was in familiar territory atop the Northern Trust Open leaderboard, and the South Korean believes he has what it takes to stay there this time.

LOS ANGELES: Bae Sang-Moon was in familiar territory atop the Northern Trust Open leaderboard on Friday, and the South Korean believes he has what it takes to stay there this time.

Bae played Riviera Country Club without a bogey, firing a second-round 66 for the early second-round lead in the $6.7 million US PGA Tour event on nine-under par 133.

"I love this course," Bae said of the classic Riviera layout, adding that its hilly terrain and small greens reminded him of courses in South Korea.

Bae had a share of the halfway lead here last year, in his first appearance at Riviera, but shot himself out of contention with a third-round 76.

He said it was a good learning experience, and the 27-year-old from Kyunggi-do went on last season to add his first US PGA Tour title at the Byron Nelson Championship to his 11 international triumphs.

"It was a really, really good experience and I learned a lot," he said of his struggles here last year. "Patience - that's it."

Bae said he'd learned not to get angry over every putt that failed to drop, and to take the bad breaks more in stride.

With that attitude he said, "I can play well the next two days."

Bae was among 11 players who started the second round one shot behind overnight leader Dustin Johnson.

Bae's five birdies included a near chip-in at the par-five 11th, as well as back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17.

When he walked off the 18th green he had a three-shot lead, but it was soon trimmed to one by Australian Aaron Baddeley, who birdied his last four holes en route to a six-under par 65.

Baddeley was in the clubhouse on eight-under 134, one stroke in front of Charlie Beljan, who posted a 68 for seven-under 135.

With the afternoon starters yet to make the turn, first-round leader Johnson was among a group of four players sharing fourth place on six-under par.

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