Early start helps leaders

Associated Press
Christina Kim shot 69 on Friday and shares the Kraft Nabisco Championship lead with Kristy McPherson. Both players drew early starts and were able to finish before the wind picked up.

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. --- Flags whipped and tree branches swayed in a strong desert wind that stirred up the leaderboard at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.


Kristy McPherson and Christina Kim teed off well before the wind started gusting Friday and solidified their positions at 6-under 138 at the halfway point of the LPGA Tour's first major of the season.

First-round leader Brittany Lincicome shot 74 and is two shots off the lead. Lincicome had 66 in perfect conditions on Thursday.

McPherson shot 70 and Kim 69 at Mission Hills. McPherson was two shots off the lead on Thursday while Kim was three back.

Cristie Kerr also teed off in the morning and shot 68 for a two-day total of 139.

"Yeah, I was counting my blessings for a good tee time," McPherson said. "That's part of the game."

Those who teed off in the late morning and afternoon had to contend with the wind. That included Lincicome.

"The back nine started getting a little breezy and I made two bogeys back-to-back on two and three, both of them because of poor tee balls into the wind and you let the wind take it away a little bit, which I think is going to be the hardest part out here," said McPherson, who started her round on No. 10.

"It's going to be a lot easier to play this course from the fairway than it is the rough."

Lincicome was at 4-under, while Jimin Kang and Lindsey Wright were at 3-under.

Angela Stanford shot 75, leaving her at 2-under with Paula Creamer, Helen Alfredsson and Pat Hurst, who won here in 1998.

Michelle Wie struggled with her putting and shot an 81 to finish at 8-over and make the cut by a stroke.

Lorena Ochoa shot her second consecutive 73 and was tied for 26th at 2-over. The Mexican star was 3-under for her round through 11 holes before finishing with four bogeys.

"It was close to being really, really good, but the way I finished, I am very disappointed," Ochoa said.

EUROPEAN TOUR: In Cascais, Portugal,Ross McGowan of England shot 2-over-par 73 in the second round of the Estoril Open, retaining his lead by one stroke.

McGowan, who equaled his lowest European Tour score with 64 in the first round, had four bogeys and two birdies to finish 5-under overall in blustery weather at Oitavos Dunes Club.

One shot behind were tour rookies Carlos del Moral of Spain (71) and Chris Doak of Scotland (70).

McGowan is a former English amateur champion chasing his first European Tour victory.

Five players were two shots off the lead -- England's Paul Broadhurst (68), Stuart Davis (69), Simon Dyson (72) and Miles Tunnicliff (70) and Argentina's Daniel Vancsik (71).

NATIONWIDE TOUR: In Hayward, Calif., Matt Every had a wild ride to the lead in the Stonebrae Classic at TPC San Francisco Bay at Stonebrae.

Every had a hole-in-one and shot 8-under-par 28 on the front nine en route to 8-under 63 and a three-shot lead. He's at 10-under 132.

Every, a former Florida golfer, also birdied No. 10 to go to 9-under for the round, but then made four consecutive bogeys. He added three more birdies.

Every had an ace (on No. 6), an eagle (No. 7), eight birdies, four bogeys and four pars.

Michael Sims had 64 and is in second place.

Former Augustan Richard Johnson shot 67 and is at 141.


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