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US President Barack Obama is starting his birthday this weekend with a round of golf before escaping to the Maryland mountains.
Obama turns 53 on Monday. In what has become an annual birthday tradition, he is joining friends on the green for an early morning round at Andrews Air Force Base in suburban Maryland.
He will board Marine One later today for the short helicopter flight to Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains.
The White House says presidential pals Mike Ramos, Bobby Titcomb and Greg Orme are rounding out Obama's foursome. All three are longtime friends dating back to Obama's childhood in Hawaii.
They are teeing off against eight other golfers under gray skies and a cool breeze.
The president plans to return to the White House tomorrow afternoon. (AP) SUA SRY 08022147