Park Atop LPGA Major
Rancho Mirage, Calif. — Inbee Park took the second-round lead yesterday 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, the 24-year-old South Korean player shot a 5-under 67 to reach 7 under.
American Lizette Salas was a stroke back after a 68, and Sweden’s Carolina Hedwall and Italy’s Giulia Sergas followed at 5 under. Hedwall shot 68, and Sergas had a 69.
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 LPGA Tour victory when 17-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn closed with a triple bogey to blow a two-stroke lead.
McIlroy Closes at Texas
San Antonio — Rory McIlroy matched the low round of the day with a 5-under par 67 and moved within three shots of the lead at the Texas Open, continuing his last-minute preparations for next week’s Masters.
McIlroy is three shots back of leader Billy Horschel, who birdied his last two holes to post his second straight 4-under 68. Three players are two shots back at 6 under.
Johnson Takes Pole
Martinsville, Va. — Jimmie Johnson has won the pole position for tomorrow’s NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway with a track record.
Johnson made his fastest lap around the 0.526-mile oval at 98.400 mph Friday. He broke the track record of 98.083 mph held by Tony Stewart. It is the 30th pole position of Johnson’s career, and his third in 23 starts at Martinsville.
Williams Sisters to Meet
Charleston, s.c. — Top-ranked Serena Williams ended a long and successful day for the Williams family as she and sister Venus both won twice Friday to reach the Family Circle Cup semifinals and set up their first sibling showdown since 2009.
Serena won her 13th straight match by defeating sixth-seeded Lucie Safarova, 6-4, 6-1.
Earlier, she topped two-time NCAA doubles champ Mallory Burdette in a third-round match moved due to Thursday’s 7½-hour rain delay.
Venus also had double duty, rallying past Varvara Lepchenko in three sets before ousting 18-year-old Madison Keys later on Billie Jean King Court.
The Williams sisters next go for a spot in the finals Saturday. They haven’t met in a tournament since the 2009 Tour Championships in Qatar. Serena holds a 13-10 lead, although they’re 1-1 on clay.