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PALMER LOOMS ONLY 3 BACK AT PAINEWEBBER

Larry Gilbert and Graham Marsh shared the top spot at the PaineWebber Invitational on Saturday, when the biggest stir was caused by the presence of Arnold Palmer on the leader board.

Gilbert, who shot a 2-under 70, and Marsh, who had a 71, were at 7-under 137 after two tours of the Tournament Players Club at Piper Glen.Of the 15 players within four shots of the co-leaders, nobody was more conspicuous than Palmer, who at 66 has lost some of his skills but none of his appeal.

Followed as usual by the largest gallery on the course, Palmer rewarded Arnie's Army with a second consecutive 70, leaving him three back heading into today's final round of the $800,000 Senior PGA Tour event.

Palmer, who helped design the 6,774-yard Piper Glen layout, hasn't finished better than 34th in any tournament in the last two years, and he hasn't won since the now-defunct Crestar Classic in 1988 near Richmond, Va.

One shot off the lead were Dick Hendrickson, who shot a 67, and Jack Kiefer, who carded a 68 on a day when gusty winds helped make scoring difficult.

Larry Laoretti was alone at 139 after a 68.

Palmer was among six players at 140. Also in that group was Brian Barnes, who struggled after opening with a 66 to share the first-round lead with Marsh. Barnes' 74 Saturday featured five bogeys and three birdies.

Gilbert, who began the day one shot off the lead, started his round with a birdie on the 378-yard opening hole and followed with an eagle on the 481-yard 2nd with a 30-foot putt from the fringe.

But he couldn't maintain the pace the rest of the way, when he had one bogey, one double-bogey and two birdies.