Monday, June 25, 2018

Park extends lead at Kraft Nabisco Championship

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Inbee Park opened a three-stroke lead in the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Saturday, twice hitting to 2½ feet to set up back-nine birdies in a bogey-free round.

Park shot 5-under 67 in tricky wind to reach 12-under 204 at Mission Hills, putting her in position to win her second LPGA major title and get her second victory of the year. She won the 2008 U.S. Women's Open and got her fourth tour title in February at the LPGA Thailand.

Lizette Salas, a stroke behind Park entering the round, had 69 to remain second.

Hall of Famer Karrie Webb (67), the winner in 2000 and 2006, was in a group of six five strokes back at 6 under. The group included Angela Stanford, whose 66 was the best round of the tournament.

Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (74) was 3 over.

Park is bogey-free in her past 22 holes at Mission Hills.

"I feel really good about my swing and the stroke at the moment," Park said. "I feel really comfortable around this golf course, too. That helps. Three good rounds, and I just need another one (today).

"I was really used to the wind after (Friday) because we had a really similar wind. It was a lot easier to judge (Saturday)."

Salas, 23, grew up west of Los Angeles in Azusa, where her father is the head mechanic at a golf course. She was a four-time All-American at USC.

"I feed off the crowd, and to have my fans out here, my family here, it just helps me stay calm," Salas said. "I'm playing in my back yard, so I can't ask for anything more than that.

"I've just got to stay patient and just trust my putter and just keep it simple. I'm just going to stick to my game plan. I can't control what (Park) does. I can only control my swing thoughts and my routine."

Webb, 38, won the last of her 38 tour titles in 2011.

"I'm just glad I gave myself a chance," Webb said. "If we can get some breeze going (today), I think that'll make it interesting."

Stanford rebounded after opening with rounds of 70 and 74.

"I've kind of been fighting it all week, and I kind of found a thought that worked the rest of the day," Stanford said. "I made the turn and started hitting some good shots."

PGA: Billy Horschel overcame strong wind to shoot 2-under 70 and take a two-shot lead entering the final round of the Texas Open in San Antonio. Horschel was at 10-under 206. Tied for second were Jim Furyk (69) and Charley Hoffman (70). Rory McIlroy was inconsistent off the tee and had four birdies and three bogeys in 1-under 71, and was four back.

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