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Hurst grabs second-round lead at Mission Hills

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Pat Hurst shot a four- under-par 68 to take the lead at six-under 138 through two rounds of the LPGA's first major of the season, the Nabisco Championship. Carin Koch, who was tied with Hurst and three others for the lead after the first round, carded 69 Friday for second place at minus-five.
 
Annika Sorenstam, the winner of the last two LPGA Tour events, put herself in better position to make a run at her third straight title with a two-under 70. She is tied for third place at two-under 142 with Akiko Fukushima, Se Ri Pak and two-time Nabisco winner Dottie Pepper.
 
Defending champion Karrie Webb posted two birdies and two bogeys at Mission Hills Country Club on Friday for an even-par 72. She currently stands seven shots off the pace at one-over par.
 
The second of Hurst's three career victories came in this major championship three years ago. When asked if she is using her prior success in the tournament to boost her confidence level this week, Hurst explained it's her familiarity with the course that makes her feel like a favorite to bring home the trophy.
 
'I think any course that you win at, you know, when you step up to the tee you feel comfortable,' Hurst said. 'I wouldn't say that I'm feeding off of 1998, but I do like coming here.'

Hurst was certainly a bit more comfortable when she first completed her second round. An early starter on Friday, Hurst had a four-shot lead when she made her way to the clubhouse at six-under par.
 
Hurst was able to two-putt for birdie at the par-five second and 11th, and in between she rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt at the sixth and a 20-footer at seven.
 
After a rare missed fairway at the par-four 15th, Hurst was forced to lay up with her second shot. She failed to get up and down from just short of the green, missing a five-foot putt to save par.
 
Although the bogey dropped her to three-under on the day, Hurst knocked a wedge stiff at 16 and drained the short birdie putt to recover the stroke. She had chance for a better finish, but missed an eight-foot birdie putt at the 17th and a 15-footer for birdie at 18.
 
Koch, still in search of her first win on the LPGA Tour, opened with a bogey when she missed a six-foot putt for par. She was mistake-free the rest of the way, birdieing the second, sixth, 11th and 12th to stay near the top of the leaderboard.

Koch has tallied six second-place finishes since qualifying for the LPGA Tour in 1995. Her most recent runner-up came behind Pak in the season-opening event in January.
 
'You know, maybe I've just saved all these years to have a really good tournament here instead,' she said.
 
Nanci Bowen was the last player to make the Nabisco Championship her first-ever victory when she won with a 72-hole total of three- under 285 in 1995.
 
Fukushima, a two-time LPGA winner and a former No. 1 player on the Japanese Tour, turned in a 68 comprised of an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys. Pak, who won four titles, including two majors, in her Rookie of the Year season of 1998, birdied two of her last four holes Friday for 69.
 
Sorenstam has amassed 25 victories since joining the LPGA Tour in 1994, but hasn't captured a major title since she won back-to-back U.S. Women's Opens in 1995-96.
 
A total of 74 players (71 professionals and three amateurs) survived the 36-hole cut, which came at seven-over-par 151.
 
Full Field Scores from the Nabisco Championship