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A nice 'welcome back' for Hurst at Wegmans

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – 'Where have you been?'

That’s the greeting Pat Hurst received when she entered the media interview room after getting herself in contention in the second round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship Friday at Locust Hill Country Club.

With a 5-under-par 67, Hurst moved to the top of the leaderboard at 137 (7-under) before first-round leader Yani Tseng headed out for her second round.

Hurst, 42, has won six LPGA titles, including a major (the 1998 Nabisco Dinah Shore). She won the U.S. Girls’ Junior (1986) and U.S. Women’s Amateur (1990), but she’s been noticeably missing from leaderboards lately. She hasn’t won since the MasterCard Classic in March of '09. She hasn't logged a top-10 finish in two years. She arrived this week off four consecutive missed cuts.

“It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?” Hurst said. “It’s been tough. I’ve just been busy. There’s been a lot of things on my mind.”

Hurst has two children, Jackson, 12, and Riley, 9. The family just made a big move from Scottsdale, Ariz., back to Hurst’s roots in the San Francisco Bay area. She also spent time serving on the LPGA’s Board of Directors.

“I just didn’t have much time to focus on golf,” Hurst said. “This year, and for a couple more years, I want to focus on my golf and see where it goes.”

Hurst said her putting stroke’s coming around. She holed a 40-footer for birdie at the eighth hole and a 35-footer for birdie at the 16th. She also chipped in from about 30 feet at the 15th.

“There are two more rounds,” Hurst said. “I would really be excited if it were Sunday . . . I am excited. I’ve gained a little bit of confidence out there.”