GOLF Weir finishes with flurry to tie Maruyama for lead

John Daly pulled within two shots of the lead.
LOS ANGELES -- Mike Weir's victory last year at Riviera was no fluke.
Neither was John Daly's victory last week.
Weir birdied five of his last seven holes Friday for a 7-under 64 that gave him a tie for the lead with Shigeki Maruyama, a share of the 36-hole record at the Nissan Open and hopes of becoming the first back-to-back winner at Riviera since Ben Hogan.
None of that seemed to matter to a gallery gone gaga over Daly.
Coming off a stunning victory last week at Torrey Pines -- his first on the PGA Tour in nine years -- Daly played even better in his round of 64 that left him only two shots out of the lead.
"It's a great feeling," Daly said. "I really didn't mis-hit a golf shot."
He wasn't alone on a cool, overcast day off Sunset Boulevard, where the average score was 69.76. Tiger Woods shot a 66 and didn't make up any ground, heading into the weekend eight shots behind Weir and Maruyama.
Maruyama, a member at Riviera, was only hopeful of making the cut and wound up with a 66. He and Weir were at 12-under 130, tying the 36-hole record set by Davis Love III in 1992.
Scott McCarron (65) and Briny Baird (62) were another shot back.
Media favorite
Daly also tied a record -- most trips to the media center in one week. He was as entertaining in 20 minutes with reporters as he was on the golf course.
Among the latest revelations:
UHe has lost 47 pounds since the start of the year. "I just went nuts at Christmas, ate everything in sight," he said.
UHe still hates flying commercial. "You pay for gas and hope you get there," he said.
UHe drives his customized motor home around the country, with three 42-inch plasma TVs.
UGolfweek magazine reported that Daly is paying $20,000 a month to two ex-wives for alimony and child support.
Weir came into the room and jokingly sat on Daly's lap. McCarron, who didn't play last week, was supposed to go skiing on Sunday until he saw Daly in the lead at Torrey Pines.
"I canceled my ski trip to stay and watch the golf tournament," McCarron said. "John Daly means a lot to golf, and I just hope he keeps going the way he's going now, because he's playing some great golf."
Champions Tour
LUTZ, Fla. -- Tom Kite found the weather to his liking and shot an 8-under-par 63 Friday for a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Champions Tour event at the TPC of Tampa Bay.
Kite took advantage of little wind on a damp, overcast day, carding eight birdies in a bogey-free trip over the 6,783-yard course. Larry Nelson and Mike McCullough were a shot off the lead with John Bland and David Eger two back in the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.
Match Play Championship
LOS ANGELES -- Ernie Els withdrew from next week's Match Play Championship, saying he wanted to be in London when his 4-year-old daughter goes to school for the first time.
Els, the No. 3 player in the world, had said last month he was debating whether to play in a $7 million World Golf Championship in which he doesn't like the format (18-hole matches) or the golf course (La Costa Resort).