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In return, Pak takes slim lead

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — When Se Ri Pak rolled in a par putt on her final hole of the second round at the LPGA Championship, she smiled and breathed a sigh of relief.

Playing in her first tournament since injuring her left shoulder in early April, the Hall of Famer shot 1-under 71 Friday to take a one-shot lead.

"I'm happy to be back in this seat," Pak said. "Before I teed off, I knew it was tougher because of the wind. It was very difficult. I tried not to make big mistakes. I'm very happy about the finish. I got a couple of great up-and-downs."

Pak was at 3-under 141, one shot ahead of Inbee Park (70), Paula Creamer (72), Mika Miyazato (72) and Sandra Gal (71). Defending champion Yani Tseng finished 7-over 151, barely making the cut.

"I did my best," Tseng said. "I hung in there."

It was difficult for Pak and everybody else. After reaching 4 under with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17, Pak struggled through the front nine, making bogey at the par-3 seventh. She salvaged par on four straight holes on the front.

First-round leaders Beatriz Recari, Giulia Sergas and Ryann O'Toole fell off the pace on a day that a swirling wind added yet another challenge on the narrow Locust Hill Country Club course. Sergas and O'Toole shot 76, and Recari had 78.

Cristie Kerr, the runaway winner in 2010, was 2 over after 76. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 1-over 73 for 5-over 149.

Tampa resident Kristy McPherson (77—152) and Clearwater's Jennifer Gleason (73—157) failed to make the cut.

Grace Park, who won one major among her six wins on tour, announced her retirement. "I'm ready for a new phase in my life," said the often-injured Park, 33, who finished her two rounds at 6 over. "It's my own fault for not taking care of my body."

PGA: Rory McIlroy snapped his string of three straight missed cuts in style, shooting 5-under 65 to take the lead into the weekend at the St. Jude Classic.

McIlroy came to Memphis to tune up his game before heading to San Francisco for his U.S. Open title defense. He birdied three of his final four holes, and had eagle, five birdies and two bogeys to match his lowest PGA Tour round this year.

With birdie on No. 18, Mc­Ilroy reached 7-under 133 to break out of a four-way tie.

"It's nice to see my name on that part of the leaderboard," McIlroy said. "It's not nice when you're struggling to make the cut on a Friday afternoon. It was great. It's nice to be through to the weekend obviously. It's obviously even nicer to be leading and have a great chance."

Jeff Maggert, tied for the first-round lead with John Merrick, shot 68 to match J.B. Holmes (64) and Kevin Stadler (65) at 6 under. Merrick had 69 to join Chad Campbell (67) and Kevin Kisner (66) at 5 under.

Champions: Bill Glasson shot 3-under 69 for a two-stroke lead over Russ Cochran at the Regions Tradition in Birmingham, Ala. Glasson was at 9-under 135 and has made only one bogey in the first 36 holes.

PGA Europe: Lee Westwood shot 4-under 68 and maintained a three-stroke lead at the Nordea Masters in Bro, Sweden. Westwood, at 16 under, is attempting to win the Swedish Masters in today's final round for the third time in his career.

In return, Pak takes slim lead 06/08/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 8, 2012 11:00pm]
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