Sorenstam Alone in Second at Nabisco

By Sports NetworkMarch 28, 2003, 5:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Patricia Meunier-Lebouc posted a 4-under 68 to take the lead at the halfway point of the Kraft Nabisco Championship Friday. Meunier-Lebouc finished at 6-under-par 138, two strokes clear of overnight leader Annika Sorenstam.
 
'I have the chance to go into the third day leading the tournament, the major,' said Meunier-Lebouc. 'Life is just an experience. I just want to learn from it.'
 
Meunier-Lebouc was two shots behind Sorenstam to start the second round under windy conditions at the Dinah Shore Course at Mission Hills Country Club. She played alongside the two-time defending champion and made her presence known with a pair of birdies starting at the first to tie Sorenstam in the lead.
 
The Frenchwoman hit a 6-iron to three feet for a birdie at the fifth but struggled with a bogey at the very next hole. At the par-4 seventh, Meunier-Lebouc hit her second shot to four feet for a birdie to make the turn at minus-5.
 
Meunier-Lebouc chipped her third shot from off the green to nine feet at the par-5 11th to take the outright lead at 6-under and parred the remaining holes en route to the clubhouse lead.
 
'I know it's not going to be every single day now of my life like that,' said Meunier-Lebouc. 'That's the way it is in golf, when you feel it, you have to go for it. It's the only way to have fun.'
 
Sorenstam kept pace throughout the day and stood alongside Meunier-Lebouc atop the leaderboard at minus-6 thanks to a birdie at the 12th. The Swede, who is trying to become the first player to ever win this event in three consecutive years, stumbled down the stretch, however, with three bogeys over her next five holes.
 
'On the back, I think the wind picked up, then it would stop, then it would start over,' said Sorenstam. 'You kind of had to time it. That's not always so easy.'
 
At the par-5 last, Sorenstam hit a sand-wedge to nine feet for a closing birdie and a round of 72.
 
'For me personally, it was kind of like a roller-coaster a little bit,' said Sorenstam. 'Not a lot of pars, a lot of birdies, a lot of bogeys. I must say it was difficult today because the wind was swirling constantly on the front. It was very difficult to figure out what club to hit on certain holes.'
 
LPGA Tour rookie Lorena Ochoa finished three shots off the pace at 3-under-par 141. The 21-year-old picked up two birdies on the front nine and a five-foot birdie at the 11th moved her to 4-under.
 
Ochoa found trouble with a double-bogey at the par-4 15th and nearly dropped another shot at the very next hole. She managed to convert on a 14-foot putt to save par and hit her tee shot to three feet at the par-3 17th. Ochoa drained the putt on her way to a second-round 70.
 
'I did pretty good today, especially at the beginning,' said Ochoa. 'I feel pretty good. I'm playing really good on the distances with my second shot. That makes the golf course a little easier.'
 
Karen Stupples, Dorothy Delasin and Michele Redman finished one shot further back at 2-under-par 142. Se Ri Pak and Danielle Ammaccapane followed at 1- under-par 143.
 
Jenny Rosales, Maria Hjorth and Lorie Kane share ninth place at even-par 144.
 
Laura Davies, who can complete the career Grand Slam with a victory at this event, struggled with a 75 to finish at 1-over-par 145 along with Cristie Kerr, Donna Andrews and Catriona Matthew.
 
Michelle Wie chose a good spot to make her first cut on the LPGA Tour. The hard-hitting 13-year-old tallied one birdie and three bogeys to finish eight shots off the pace in a group at 2-over-par 146.
 
'I really didn't think about the cut. I just thought I wanted to shoot a certain score over four rounds,' said Wie. 'It was a little windy. The breezes were cool, so it wasn't that bad.'
 
Wie was joined by Leta Lindley, Akiko Fukushima, Dawn Coe-Jones, Michelle Ellis and Rosie Jones in a tie for 16th.
 
The 36-hole cut fell at 10-over-par 154 with 79 players qualifying for the weekend. Among those who didn't make the grade were Grace Park and 16-year-old Naree Song.
 

Related Links
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.