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Mickelson Charges Into Lead in S. Carolina

Charlotte, n.c. — Phil Mickelson has figured out the secret to the greens at Quail Hollow. Or maybe he’s just had a lot of good bounces for two days.

Mickelson opened with a pair of 15-foot birdie putts, dropped in a 40-foot putt at the turn and made back-to-back birdies late in his round yesterday. He finished with a 5-under 67 for a two-shot lead going into the weekend at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Nick Watney played with Mickelson the opening two rounds and looks efficient, going bogey-free on the back nine. He had a 70 and was at 7-under 137, along with George McNeill (68) and Scott Gardiner, the 37-year-old tour rookie who had missed eight straight cuts coming into the Quail Hollow. Gardiner, the first Aboriginal Australian to become a pro golfer, ran off four straight birdies at the turn and had a 67.

Kingsmill Championship

Williamsburg, Va. — Thai teen Ariya Jutanugarn followed her opening 7-under 64 with an even-par 71 in windy conditions to hold onto the lead in the LPGA Tour’s Kingsmill Championship.

Insperity Championship

The Woodlands, Texas — Mike Goodes shot a 3-under 69 in wind that gusted to 30 mph to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Champions Tour’s Insperity Championship.

NBA Basketball

LeBron Wins 4th MVP

LeBron James is getting his fourth Most Valuable Player award — and the only mystery left is whether the vote was unanimous.

The Miami Heat star will be introduced tomorrow as the award winner, according to a person familiar with the results and who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league has not publicly announced this year’s recipient. James will become the fifth player with at least four MVP awards, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.

No one has ever swept every first-place vote in the NBA’s MVP balloting. After the season he had, James could be the first.

James averaged 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists this season, shooting a career-best 56 percent.

Auto Racing

X-Games Champ Grabs Nationwide Pole

Talladega, Ala. — X Games star Travis Pastrana won his first career pole on the Nationwide Series at Talladega Superspeedway.

The 10-time X Games gold medalist-turned-NASCAR driver starts up front in today’s Aaron’s 312 after posting the fastest qualifying time of 54.255 yesterday on the 2.66-mile tri-oval.

Pastrana called it “a dream come true.”