McIlroy pulls closer to Texas Open lead

SAN ANTONIO — Rory McIlroy didn't anticipate an encounter with the native plant life when he signed up for the Texas Open.

Despite just such a happening on Friday, the world's No. 2 golfer matched the low round of the day with a 5-under par 67 and moved within three shots of leader Billy Horschel, continuing his last-minute preparations for next week's Masters.

McIlroy, who decided to play in the tournament late last week, had seven birdies — including his final three holes — and overcame a bogey on No. 9 after driving into the rough and catching his left shin on a nearby cactus.

The misstep dropped McIlroy to 1 under, but he rebounded with key putts on the final three holes for birdies and pulled well within reach of the leaders entering the weekend.

"It was a good way to finish," McIlroy said. "It will definitely make dinner taste a little nicer tonight and give me a couple of more hours in bed tomorrow morning."

The 23-year-old two-time major winner is three shots back of Horschel, who birdied his last two holes to post his second straight 4-under 68.

A group of three players — Daniel Summerhays, Charley Hoffman and Steven Bowditch — are two shots back at 6 under, while McIlroy is tied with six others at 5 under.

Thursday's co-leaders, Matt Bettencourt and Peter Tomasulo, each shot 1-over 73s and fell four shots off the lead.

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At Sao Paulo, Brazil, Jason Allred fired a 1-under-par 71 to move into a tie for 71st at the inaugural Brasil Classic, which was delayed by rain.

Allred, from Ashland, is playing in his second event of the season.

Allred had four birdies and three bogeys on the day.

New Zealand's Danny Lee leads after matching his opening-round 65 on Friday.

Half the field is still on the course at Sao Paulo Golf Club and will return early this morning to finish the second round.

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At Rancho Mirage, Calif., Inbee Park took the second-round lead, 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.


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