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In Brief | Golf & Tennis | 4-5-14

April 5, 2014 - 12:05am

Thompson, Pak share Kraft Nabisco lead

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Lexi Thompson found a putting touch to match her power game Friday in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The 19-year-old Thompson, already a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour, shot a bogey-free 8-under 64 at Mission Hills for a share of the second-round lead with Se Ri Pak.

Thompson birdied eight of the last 13 holes and had only 25 putts after taking 35 in a first-round 73. Pak had a 70 to match Thompson at 7-under 137 in the first major championship of the year.

Michelle Wie of Honolulu was a stroke back after a 71.

First-round leader Shanshan Feng bogeyed the final two holes for a 73 to drop into a tie for fourth with Cristie Kerr at 5 under. Kerr had a 70.

LPGA boss ‘disappointed’ with Golf Digest

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan weighed in Friday on Golf Digest’s provocative cover featuring Paulina Gretzky.

Whan released a statement at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, saying: “Obviously, we’re disappointed and frustrated by the editorial direction (and timing) Golf Digest has chosen with the announcement of its most recent magazine cover.”

The cover photo shows Gretzky in skintight capris and a bra.

Gretzky is former hockey star Wayne Gretzky’s daughter and PGA Tour player Dustin Johnson’s fiancee.

Garcia moves to top of Houston leaderboard

HUMBLE, Texas — Sergio Garcia surged to the top of the leaderboard by shooting a 7-under par 65 in the second round of the Houston Open on Friday.

The Spaniard’s 12-under overall score matches the 36-hole low at the 7,441-yard Golf Club of Houston, and he’s one shot ahead of Matt Kuchar — who is 11 under overall.

Garcia, opening on the back nine, climbed the leaderboard with a birdie-eagle-birdie stretch on his front nine. His eagle on No. 13 came after sticking his 282-yard second shot to 5 feet.

First-round co-leader Bill Haas followed his opening 65 with a 2-over 74 in gusty conditions. The other first-round leader, Charley Hoffman, fell to 3 under overall.

Phil Mickelson shot a 2-under 70 and is 6 under overall, six shots back of Garcia.

Top seeds Jankovic, Errani upset

CHARLESTON, S.C. — No. 3 seed Sara Errani was upset by 17-year-old Swiss qualifier Belinda Bencic 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 at the Family Circle Cup and joined second-seeded Jelena Jankovic as top players outsed in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Jankovic lost to Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to start the round of eight. An even bigger shocker came later with Bencic’s win.

Errani, ranked 11th in the world, looked confident and in control in taking the first set before getting overwhelmed by Bencic, who had to win twice this past weekend just to enter the main draw.

Favorites struggle in Davis Cup quarters

LONDON — Two of the favorites struggled on the first day of the Davis Cup quarterfinals Friday, with Germany closing in on a big upset against France and Switzerland only managing to split the opening singles matches against Kazakhstan.

In the match of the day, 119th-ranked Peter Gojowczyk beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a five-set marathon to give injury-hit Germany a 2-0 lead over host France. Gojowczyk won 5-7, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 7-6 (8), 8-6 after Tobias Kamke had defeated Julien Benneteau 7-6 (8), 6-3, 6-2.

Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka also surprisingly lost his opening singles match for host Switzerland against 64th-ranked Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5). That left it up to Roger Federer to even the best-of-five series at 1-1 by easily dispatching Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

The Czech Republic lived up to its status as favorite, although both Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol had to work hard before winning their singles matches to give the defending champion a 2-0 lead over Japan. Stepanek beat Tatsuma Ito 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-1, 7-5 at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo and Rosol overcame Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2.

In the other quarterfinal, Italy was up 1-0 over Britain after Fabio Fognini beat James Ward in Naples and the second match between Andreas Seppi and Andy Murray was suspended because of darkness.

By wire sources

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