Sorenstam Staying in the Hunt

By Sports NetworkMarch 29, 2003, 5:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Patricia Meunier-Lebouc carded a 2-under 70 to extend her lead after the third round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship Saturday. Meunier-Lebouc's 54-hole total of 8-under-par 208 puts her three shots ahead of two-time defending champion Annika Sorenstam.
 
Meunier-Lebouc, who is looking for her second career victory on the LPGA Tour at the season's first major, brought a two-shot lead into Saturday's round.
 
She tallied two birdies over the first nine holes and drained a nine-foot putt for a birdie at the 11th.
 
At the par-4 12th, Meunier-Lebouc landed her approach within four feet of the cup for another birdie to reach 10-under.
 
She struggled down the stretch with back-to-back bogeys starting at the 16th but managed to build a comfortable margin with one round to play on the Dinah Shore Course at Mission Hills Country Club.
 
'It's going to be the best experience of my life,' said Meunier-Lebouc. 'It's getting better every day, playing with Annika a lot of times, and playing with her the last day of the first major of the year, is unbelievable.'
 
Sorenstam hit a 9-iron to eight feet for a birdie at the first but struggled with a two-putt bogey at the par-3 fifth. She recovered quickly with a birdie at the sixth but found trouble again on the green with a bogey at the eighth.
 
The Swede picked up steam with a birdie at the 12th and knocked her second shot within inches at the 13th. Sorenstam tapped in for birdie but stumbled with a bogey at the 16th for a round of 71.
 
'I've been here before, I've been in this position,' said Sorenstam. 'I have a chance to finish it up tomorrow. I'm excited about that. It's been three long days, but I'm right where I want to be, and playing with Patricia again, so I'm looking forward to a good Sunday.'
 
Sorenstam can become the first player to win this event in three consecutive seasons.
 
'I know what this championship means,' said Sorenstam. 'Patricia hasn't won a major. She might be hungry, but I'm starving, so I'm just going to go out there tomorrow and do the best I can.'
 
Michelle Wie finished alone in third at 4-under-par 212. The 13-year-old fired a flawless 66 to match the low mark for an amateur at this event.
 
'I really shot good today, and I was really proud of myself,' said Wie. 'But I didn't even know what I was shooting, I thought I had to make one more birdie and I kept on going.'
 
Wie torched the front nine with four birdies and dropped her second shot inside three feet for a birdie at the 10th. At the par-5 11th, Wie chipped her third shot to seven feet for her sixth birdie of the day.
 
She had several birdie chances down the stretch but failed to convert on numerous occasions. At the par-5 last, Wie had four feet for a birdie and the chance to set a new amateur record at this event, but she missed the putt.
 
Wie, who is one year away from High School, will now play alongside the top player in the game in the final group of an LPGA major.
 
'I don't really put pressure on myself, but it's just the game,' said Wie. 'You just have to hit the ball good, putt well, chip well, everything. It's just a game.'
 
Laura Davies and Se Ri Pak, who could both complete the career Grand Slam with a victory at this event, finished tied for fourth at 2-under-par 214.
 
Juli Inkster, a two-time winner of this event, matched Wie for low score of the week with a 6-under 66. Inkster was joined by LPGA Tour rookie Lorena Ochoa at 1-under-par 215.
 
Laura Diaz and Jenny Rosales were one shot further back at even-par 216.
 
Beth Daniel shot a four-under 68 to finish in a tie for 10th at 1-over-par 217 along with Maria Hjorth, Catriona Matthew and Woo-Soon Ko.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Kraft Nabisco Championship
  • Full coverage of the Kraft Nabisco Championship
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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.