Frenchwoman Leads in Illinois
Meunier-Lebouc equaled the two-day mark established by Laura Davies in 1994 and matched by Annika Sorenstam last year. This will be the first time that Meunier-Lebouc will take the lead into the weekend on the LPGA Tour.
'There are a lot of players who can do it by the end of the week, but know I have a chance,' said Meunier-Lebouc, who represented the European team in the 2000 Solheim Cup. 'That is my dream.'
Mi Hyun Kim, the 1999 State Farm winner, shot a 4-under 68 Friday and is alone in third place at 9-under-par 135. Kim Saiki (65), Nancy Scranton (69), Cristie Kerr (69) and Betsy King (70) share fourth place at minus 8.
One of the themes of the State Farm Classic is that automatic qualifying for the United States Solheim Cup ends Sunday with the completion of the tournament. Kerr seems firmly set on the team in fifth position but Scranton, currently 14th on the list, needs a strong finish to qualify for the squad.
Meunier-Lebouc opened on the back nine at The Rail Golf Course and drained a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 12. She made it two in a row with an 18-foot birdie at the 13th. At the par-5 15th, Meunier-Lebouc knocked it on the green in two and two-putted for birdie.
The 29-year-old wasted little time collecting birdies on her second nine. At the first, Meunier-Lebouc played an 8-iron to a foot to set up the kick-in birdie. She capitalized on the remaining par-5s when she holed a pair of seven-foot birdie putts at the fourth and eighth.
Meunier-Lebouc ran into trouble on her way to the clubhouse. She drove into the rough at the ninth hole and played her second shot into a greenside bunker left of the putting surface. Meunier-Lebouc blasted out to 10 feet and two-putted for her first bogey of the tournament.
'It means a lot to me to be very consistent,' said Meunier-Lebouc, who tied for sixth here last year. 'I hit the ball pretty well now. I was not as aggressive as yesterday, but I still kept making birdies.'
Fukushima had a very inconsistent round Friday with an eagle, seven birdies, two bogeys, a double-bogey and seven pars. All totaled, it was her second 5-under 67 in as many days and she will play in the final group Saturday with Meunier-Lebouc and Kim.
'I think I shot the ball a lot better yesterday,' Fukushima said through an interpreter. 'I had some bogeys today. So overall, I think I hit it better yesterday.'
Eleven golfers share eighth place at 7-under-par 137, and among the group are several players with Solheim Cup implications. Wendy Ward is eighth on the Solheim Cup points list while Emilee Klein (12th) and Pat Hurst (13th) are trying to move inside the bubble.
The 36-hole cut fell at even-par 144 with 83 players qualifying for the weekend.
Full-field scores from the State Farm Classic
Romo turns in even in PGA Tour debut
After stumbling out of the gates, Tony Romo has found his footing in his PGA Tour debut.
Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies from Nos. 4-8 while playing alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.
The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:
Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Romo, who plays to a plus-0.3 handicap, said earlier in the week that he expected some jitters once it came time to put a tee in the ground.
"You'll be nervous on Thursday on the first tee. Just going to be," Romo said. "I've got to get through the first three or four holes. If I can handle the nerves on the first three or four holes, I think that I'll settle in and hopefully just play the way I've been playing."
Click here to watch live first-round action on Golf Channel.
Kim's missing clubs show up at sporting goods store
More than a month after they were lost on an American Airlines flight, the clubs I.K. Kim used to win last year's Ricoh Women's British Open turned up on the sale rack of a California sporting goods store.
Kim's clubs became lost in late January when she flew from Miami to San Diego, with the airline suggesting she simply rent a new set. A few weeks later, Kim shot a "What's in the bag" television segment which according to a Golfweek report caught the eye of three good samaritans in the San Diego area.
The three men recognized Kim's clubs for sale at a local Play It Again Sports, with the major winner's tools listed at $60 each. The store even had Kim's tour bag, complete with her LPGA player badge. Kim filmed the reunion with her bag - containing wedges and a few hybrids, minus the head covers - at the Carlsbad police station:
What’s in my bag now?! They were selling at Play it again ... only $60 each in San Diego. Jack, Jeff, Paul watched my video with @alisonwhitaker1 in Singapore and found my remaining clubs and brought it back to me @lpga_tour this week at Aviara!! Btw... Where is the head covers? They might sell separately?Never mind.
Kim was back in southern California this week for the Kia Classic, where she'll begin play Thursday morning at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad.
WGC-Dell Match Play: Scoring, live stream, standings
New dad Garcia removes shoes, wins match
AUSTIN, Texas – In one of the day’s most explosive matches, Sergio Garcia rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th hole to defeat Shubhankar Sharma, 1 up, at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
The duo halved just nine holes on Day 1 at Austin Country Club, with Garcia going from 2 up through four holes to 1 down with five holes to play.
But the Spaniard rallied with five birdies over his final eight holes and pushed his record to 20-17-1 in the Match Play. He also gave himself his best chance to advance out of pool play since the format began in 2015.
The victory continued what has already been a memorable week for Garcia, whose wife, Angela, gave birth to the couple’s first child last Wednesday.
“I already feel like I’m a winner after what happened on Wednesday,” Garcia said. “Obviously, it's something that we're so, so happy and proud of and enjoying it as much as possible.”
The highlight of Garcia’s round on Wednesday came at the 12th hole when he took a drop on a cart path. After considering his options, he removed his shoes and hit his approach from 212 yards to 29 feet for a two-putt birdie to halve the hole.
“I have spikes. So if I don't take my shoes off, I'm going to slip. It's not the kind of shot that you want to slip,” Garcia said. “I had tried it a couple of times on practice swings and I was already slipping a little bit. So I thought I would just take my shoes off, try to get a little bit in front of the hole and it came out great.”