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Lucas Glover stretches his lead to three at Kapalua

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

KAPALUA, Hawaii (Reuters) - U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover tightened his grip on the SBS Championship on Friday when three birdies in the last six holes put him three strokes clear after the second round.

On another surprisingly benign day on the spectacular Maui coastline, Glover fired a sizzling eight-under-par 65 to maintain a red-hot pace in the PGA Tour's season-opening event.

After eagling the par-five ninth to reach the turn in four-under 32, the long-hitting American picked up further shots at the 10th, 13th, 14th and 16th for a 15-under total of 131.

Glover ended up just two shy of matching the tournament record for the first 36 holes, South African Ernie Els having set an aggregate of 17-under 129 on his way to victory in 2003.

"It was good," a smiling Glover told reporters after recording seven birdies, a bogey and an eagle. "A slow start again but I got it turned around in the middle of the front.

"I was lucky enough to eagle nine again, and that kind of got things going, but I didn't capitalize on the par-fives on the back (nine). I left a couple out there.

"I made some putts I should have missed and probably missed some I should have made, so it's evened out," added the double PGA Tour winner.

"I am playing well and we've been lucky without wind. Been able to go at the flag and very aggressive. All in all, I am very pleased."

MONSTER PUTT

Masters champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina was a further shot back at 10 under after returning a six-birdie 68.

The Kapalua Resort's picturesque Plantation Course was vulnerable to low scoring with only gentle breezes caressing the hilly layout and 27 players in the 28-strong field shot below par.

The sole exception was PGA champion Yang Yong-eun of South Korea, who was two under for the day before he ran up an ugly triple-bogey eight at the last for a 74.

Birdies at the sixth and seventh lifted him to nine under before he broke clear of the field by sinking a curling 12-foot putt to eagle the 521-yard ninth.

"It's hard if he is obviously playing as well as he is," defending champion Ogilvy said of the task facing Glover's pursuers. "But he is going to have to keep playing well.

"We all know starting this week if the weather is benign you are going to have to go low, and you have to get close to 20 or so. It looks like he is on track to go better than that. We just have to make lots of birdies, I guess."

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)