Wiebe warms to Newport

Mark Wiebe said he loves playing on the West Coast and his performance in the 17th Toshiba Classic at Newport Beach Country Club is proving that statement.

Wiebe, who grew up in Escondido, birdied three of his last five holes to finish with his second straight 65 Saturday and stands two shots behind Nick Price for the tournament lead after two rounds.

Wiebe started the day in a four-way tie for second at five shots behind Price, who led off the tournament with an 11-under-par 60. Price leads at 14-under followed by Wiebe at 12-under. Joe Ozaki (who tied for the low round Saturday with a 64) and Mark O'Meara each stand at 10-under.

Wiebe and Price will be in the same group today. They played together during the final round of the ACE Group Classic in February at The Quarry in Naples, Fla. Wiebe placed ninth while Price finished tied for third.

"I'm excited to play with [Price]," said Wiebe, who has two Champions Tour victories since joining the tour before the 2008 season.

Wiebe received some help after Friday's round from his son, Gunner. Wiebe had his family come out to watch him for the tournament, including his wife, Cathy, and daughters, Taylor and Collier.

Gunner came to watch Friday. He plays for the University of San Diego. And, he also gives his father advice.

"He told me to keep my hands up at address," Mark Wiebe said. "We worked on the turn."

Mark Wiebe said he grew up playing on courses with poa annua greens, which Newport Beach Country Club's course has.

It didn't make putting any easier, Mark Wiebe said.

"There was only one putt I felt comfortable on," Wiebe said. "The rest [of the holes] I was trying to figure out" how to lag the ball to drop in the hole. "The greens are firm and tough. I am ready for a cocktail now."

Wiebe also said Gunner told him to not take too much time on the greens.

The first time Wiebe played Newport was in the 2008 Toshiba Classic. He's steadily improved in each of his first three tournament appearances; he tied for 42nd in 2008 and tied for 17th last year, when he shot a 65 in the first round.

Price said the greens were firmer Saturday.

"If you hit it on the wrong side, it's hard to make par," Price said. "There are so many side-hill putts, so you're cautious."

Ozaki will be the third player in the final group with Price and Wiebe. They tee off on No. 1 at 12:35 p.m.

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