Thursday, February 22, 2018
Golf

Park leads LPGA's Kraft Nabisco

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Inbee Park took the second-round lead Friday in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, making three birdies in a row early on the back nine and rebounding from a wind-blown bogey with four straight pars.

Finishing in gusty conditions on another hot afternoon at Mission Hills, she shot 5-under 67 for a one-stroke lead at 7-under 137 over Lizette Salas.

"Obviously, putted really good out there, especially on the back nine," Park said. "The wind picked up, so it was tough out there on the back nine. Last four holes, I made all pars. I'm really happy with that."

Carolina Hedwall (68) and Giulia Sergas (69) were at 5 under in the LPGA Tour's first major of the year.

Of the three first-round co-leaders, only Jodi Ewart Shadoff was able to stay in contention. Her 72 had her in a group of three that was three back. Suzann Pettersen and Na Yeon Choi shot 75 and were at 1 under.

Ewart Shadoff is one of the few tour players to use an anchored putting stroke, a method the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club have proposed banning.

"I've said this a lot of times, but all you have to do is look at my putting stats to know it's not a huge advantage," she. "To be honest, if they do decide to ban it, it wouldn't be a huge issue for me."

Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (73) was at 1 over and made the cut, which was 5 over. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 74 and missed the cut at 7 over.

Park is seeking her second major title after winning the 2008 U.S. Women's Open Championship. She won the LPGA Thailand in February for her fourth tour victory.

"I just like to stay a little quiet and just do my own thing," Park said. "If I win a little more, I think I'll get a little bit more attention."

Salas is the lone American in the top 11. The 23-year-old daughter of Mexican immigrants first came to the tournament as a teenager to watch Mexican star Lorena Ochoa.

"I remember watching Lorena, and I came out with a little banner for her that said 'You can do it' in Spanish, and I had great memories from outside the ropes," Salas said. "Now I'm trying to make some from inside the ropes."

Salas went on to star at USC, where she was a four-time All-American. She caught the attention of Nancy Lopez, and they have become close friends, with the Hall of Famer serving as a mentor.

PGA: Rory McIlory matched the low round of the day with 5-under 67 and moved within three shots of the lead in the second round of the Texas Open in San Antonio. Leader Billy Horschel birdied his last two holes for his second straight 4-under 68 and a total of 8-under 136. A group of three were two shots back, including Charley Hoffman, who had the other 67. McIlroy was tied at 5 under with six others, including Jim Furyk (70). First-round co-leaders Matt Bettencourt and Peter Tomasulo each shot 1-over 73 and fell four shots off the lead.

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