Friday, December 15, 2017
Golf

Lexie Thompson, Se Ri Pak share lead at Kraft Nabisco Championship

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Lexi Thompson found a putting touch to match her power game Friday in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Thompson, at 19 already a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour, shot a bogey-free 8-under 64 at Mission Hills for a share of the lead in the first major of the year with Se Ri Pak (70) at 7-under 137.

Thompson had only 25 putts after taking 35 in a first-round 73.

"I just had a little bit of speed issues (Thursday)," she said. "I didn't really commit to my lines, and I came up short a lot. I just went out (Friday) and picked my line and sped up my tempo a little bit and went up to it and said, 'I'm going to knock it in.' "

Pak birdied the final hole to get a share of the lead. The 36-year-old South Korean won the last of her five major titles in 2006 and has 25 LPGA Tour victories.

"Everything has just been really solid," Pak said. "I kept it fairways, greens, always the goal every hole. I had a lot of opportunities, but putting is not as good as (Thursday). Still, just really smooth, solid round. I'm really happy about the way I finished."

Michelle Wie was a stroke back after 71.

"I'm really excited," Wie said. "It's fun being near the top of the leaderboard. But try not to look forward too much. It's a long way till Sunday."

First-round leader Shanshan Feng bogeyed the final two holes for 73 to drop into a tie for third with Cristie Kerr (70) at 5 under.

PGA: Sergio Garcia has yet to finish lower than 16th in a tour event this season. He appears well on his way to keeping that streak intact this week after posting 7-under 65 and matching the course 36-hole record of 12-under 132 to take the second-round lead at the Houston Open in Humble, Texas.

Garcia had a one-shot lead over Matt Kuchar (67).

"Obviously I feel good, but every week is different," said Garcia, who like many others at this event has an eye on next week's Masters. "Hopefully next week I'll be feeling good (and) not too many things will be bothering me health-wise, and then just feel good on the course, hopefully play well and things happen."

Phil Mickelson shot 2-under 70 and was 6 under. "It was a lot more difficult (Friday) with this wind than it was the first day," he said. "But either way, I feel like I felt better than I have in a long time with my game."

First-round co-leader Bill Haas (74) was in a group of five at 5 under, and co-leader Charley Hoffman (76) was in a group of 14 at 3 under with Rory McIlroy (71).

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