Sports

Lexi Thompson, Se Ri Pak share lead at Mission Hills

SportsLPGAPaulina GretzkyPGA Tour

After teeing off at 8:06 a.m. Friday morning, Lexi Thompson spent the next four hours crafting a sizzling eight-under-par 64 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Thompson, a 19-year-old Floridian, then waited to see if anyone could charge past her in the afternoon when the winds arrived at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

None could, so Thompson and LPGA Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak entered Saturday's play as the second-round leaders at seven-under 137.

Pak, the 36-year-old South Korean who has won five majors, shot a two-under 70 on Friday.

Michelle Wie was one shot behind at six under par after shooting a one-under 71, and Cristie Kerr was two shots back after a two-under 70.

Also at five under was first-round leader Shanshan Feng of China, whose bogey-bogey finish left her with a one-over 73.

The winds meant Mission Hills "was playing tougher than yesterday," said Feng, who played in the afternoon. "I think I'm still in good shape."

Thompson's round included eight birdies — including a 30-foot birdie putt on the first hole — and no bogeys.

"I was just trying to stay in the moment and focus on each shot, not really think about what I was shooting," said Thompson, who has three LPGA victories but has never won a major.

Pak, who opened with a 67, birdied the par-five second hole when her approach landed six inches from the cup, then shot par golf until the 18th hole, when she dropped a three-foot putt for her second birdie of the day.

"Everything was pretty smooth and solid," Pak said. "I hit it really well."

Wie birdied the par-four 10th hole, her first hole of play, and she sank a 20-foot putt for another birdie on the par-five second. But she couldn't convert several other birdie opportunities.

"Just couldn't get anything going," Wie said. Still, "I'm happy with the 71 today. It's fun being on or near the top of the leaderboard."

Three players were three shots behind the leaders at four under: Catriona Matthew, Anna Nordqvist — who won two of her prior four events — and Morgan Pressel, who won here in 2007 at age 18.

Inbee Park, the LPGA's No. 1-ranked player and the tournament's defending champion, shot a two-under 70 and was even par for the event.

Angel Yin, the 15-year-old amateur from Arcadia who shot a 68 in the opening round, ballooned to a 79 and was three over after 36 holes.

Among those missing the cut at five over were Natalie Gulbis, Lizette Salas and Yani Tseng.

Whan disappointed

LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan said he was "disappointed and frustrated" by Golf Digest's decision to put Paulina Gretzky, who isn't a pro golfer, on the magazine's cover.

His statement came after some LPGA players also said they were upset with the cover with Gretzky in a provocative pose wearing a bikini top. Gretzky is the daughter of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky and fiancee of PGA Tour player Dustin Johnson.

james.peltz@latimes.com

Twitter: @PeltzLATimes

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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