Frenchwoman Wins the Farm

By Sports NetworkSeptember 1, 2002, 4:00 pm
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Patricia Meunier-Lebouc of France carded a 5-under 67 Sunday to earn her first victory on the LPGA Tour at the State Farm Classic. She posted a tournament total of 18-under-par 270 and finished two shots clear of overnight co-leader Mi Hyun Kim and Se Ri Pak.
'I'm very happy. I just had a wonderful day,' said Meunier-Lebouc, who earned $165,000 for the win. 'I was very confident and I was really feeling inside myself the fact that I was playing well and that I could just rip at it and be confident.'
Beth Bauer held a piece of the lead until dunking her tee ball in the water at 16. She shot a 5-under 67 and tied for fourth with Laura Davies and Emilee Klein at 15-under-par 273.
Klein's fourth-place finish moved her from 12th to ninth on the United States Solheim Cup points list and earned her an automatic berth on the squad. The U.S. will take on the European team when the Solheim Cup tees off at Interlachen Country Club in Minnesota in three weeks.
Kim built a one-shot lead thanks to four birdies on the front nine. Meunier-Lebouc collected three birdies of her own on the front side, then tied Kim at the top with a 30-foot birdie from the fringe at the 13th.
Kim landed in the rough at the 14th hole and knocked her second through the green. She failed to get up and down for par to drop one shot behind Meunier-Lebouc.
The duo both reached the par-5 15th in two. Kim missed her long eagle try, leaving only a tap-in birdie to tie Meunier-Lebouc atop the leaderboard. The tie did not last as Meunier-Lebouc had 18 feet for eagle but she missed that and settled for birdie to reclaim a one-shot advantage.
Meunier-Lebouc played conservatively the rest of the way, playing at the center of the green. Kim needed to go at more flags and landed in bunkers at both 16 and 17. Kim saved par at both holes but Meunier-Lebouc did not give Kim any room, safely parring both holes.
Kim bogeyed 18 when she played a poor bunker shot and Meunier-Lebouc parred from behind the green to preserve the win.
'When I made that birdie and went in front of her, then I put a lot of pressure on her,' said Meunier-Lebouc. 'And I think she didn't handle it that good.'
The victory was Meunier-Lebouc's first on the LPGA Tour but her sixth professional victory. She spent the early part of her career on the Ladies European Tour and represented Europe in the 2000 Solheim Cup.
Kim, a two-time winner this season, now has three runner-up finishes in 2002. She shot a 3-under 69 and once again found trouble closing out a possible win.
'I hit it good but I just didn't feel good,' said Kim, who won her first LPGA title at the 1999 State Farm Classic. 'I just think too much.'
Pak, who has three wins this season including the LPGA Championship, fired a 7-under 65 Sunday and finished runner-up for the first time in 2002.
Cristie Kerr shot a 3-under 69 to finish alone in seventh at 14-under-par. Angela Stanford posted a final-round 70 to take eighth place at minus 13.
Pat Hurst's last attempt at and automatic Solheim Cup bid came up too short. She finished alone in ninth, which was not enough to move her into the top-10 on the points list. However, American captain Patty Sheehan named Hurst and Kelly Robbins as her two captain's picks Sunday afternoon.
Final results from the State Farm Classic
Getty Images

Stricker shares first-round lead in South Dakota

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 12:48 am

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Steve Stricker shot a 7-under 63 on Friday to share the first-round lead at the Sanford International.

The 51-year-old Stricker was 8 under through 17 holes at chilly, rain-softened Minnehaha Country Club but closed with a bogey to fall into a tie with Jerry Smith, Brandt Jobe and David McKenzie.

Stricker only got to play seven holes in the pro-am because of rain that prevented the field from getting in much practice.

''You've just kind of got to trust your yardage book and hit to the spots and then try to make a good game plan on the way into the green, too, not really knowing where to hit it or where to miss it up there on the green. Sometimes it's good, too,'' Stricker said. ''You go around and you're focused a lot more on hitting it to a specific spot and not knowing what lies ahead in the course. So I guess today was the ultimate 'Take one hole at a time' because we didn't really know anything else, what was coming.''

Full-field scores from the Sanford International

Stricker has two wins and has not finished worse than fifth in six starts this season on the over-50 tour as he continues to play a part-time schedule on the PGA Tour. Next week, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants at the matches outside Paris.

McKenzie, a 51-year-old Australian, had two eagles on the back nine, holing a wedge from 116 yards on the par-5 16th.

''We got told ... to play faster on No. 16, and so my caddie just said, 'Hit it in the hole so you don't have to putt it,' so I just did what he told me,'' McKenzie said.

Smith had eagles on Nos. 4 and 12.

''Honestly, I was just trying to hit some good shots and I really wasn't with the irons,'' Smith said. ''I just really didn't like the way I hit them today. You know, just the putter was the big difference for me. I just felt good with it all day, especially say outside of 10, 15 feet, where I felt like I was a lot.''

Scott McCarron, Lee Janzen and Paul Goydos were one shot back. McCarron came in second in the Charles Schwab Cup money standings behind Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is not playing this week.

Getty Images

Glover (64) leads Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 12:12 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover shot his second consecutive 7-under 64 on Friday to take a one-shot lead at the Tour Championship.

The 38-year-old Glover, who won the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, can still regain his PGA Tour card through a medical extension if he fails to earn enough money in the four-tournament Tour Finals. But a high finish this weekend at Atlantic Beach Country Club would take care of everything.

''I've got a lot to fall back on regardless of this week, but any time I tee it up, I want to play well,'' Glover said. ''Tomorrow won't be any different. Sunday won't be any different.''

Glover had arthroscopic knee surgery in June and will have eight starts to earn 53 FedEx Cup points and keep his card. He earned $17,212 in the first three Tour Finals events. The top 25 money winners in the series earn PGA Tour cards, and the final card went for $40,625 last year.

Glover was at 14-under 128. Denny McCarthy, who has already earned enough money to secure a return to the PGA Tour, was one shot back. McCarthy, a former Virginia player, has a shot at winning the Finals money list, which would guarantee him fully exempt status and entry into The Players Championship.

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

''There's no secret about it. I'll come out and tell you I'm here to win this tournament and get that No. 1 spot,'' McCarthy said. ''I've been hungry for a while. I have a pretty hungry attitude and I'm going to stay hungry.''

Tour veteran Cameron Tringale, who has earned just $2,660 after missing two of the first three cuts, was 12 under after a 67. Last year, Tringale entered the Tour Championship at 63rd on the Finals money list and finished tied for fifth to get back onto the PGA Tour. He struggled again this season, though, missing 19 cuts in 26 starts.

''Yeah, I was hoping last year was my last time here, but I do have a comfort at this golf course and I'm excited to keep pressing,'' Tringale said.

The four-tournament series features the top 75 players from the regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top 25 finishers on the regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals.

Sepp Straka and Ben Silverman were three shots back. Each would likely need a top-5 finish to earn his card.

Peter Malnati, who regained his card with a second-place finish in the opening finals event, followed his opening-round 74 with a 9-under 62, shooting an 8-under 27 on his second nine.

Four-time PGA Tour winner Aaron Baddeley was among those who missed the cut. He was 22nd on the finals money list going in and likely will fall short of earning his card.

Getty Images

Thomas (69) only three back with 'C' or 'D' game

By Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTA – Justin Thomas was tied for fourth place following his second-round 69 on Friday at the Tour Championship, which considering the state of his game on Day 2 was an accomplishment.

“I wish I had my 'B' game today. I would say I had my 'C' or 'D' game today,” he laughed.

Thomas’ struggles were primarily with his driver and he hit just 6 of 14 fairways at East Lake, but he was able to scramble late in his round with birdies at Nos. 15 and 18 to remain three off the lead.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“I drove it so poorly today, this is probably in my top 5 rounds of the year I'm most proud of just because I easily could have shot 4- or 5-over par today and not had a chance to win the tournament,” he said. “I hung in there and birdied two of the last four, and I have a chance.”

Thomas was slowed the last two weeks by a right wrist injury that limited his preparation for the finale and said the issue with his driver is timing and the byproduct of a lack of practice.

Thomas made up for his erratic driving with his short game, getting up and down four out of seven times including on the fourth hole when he missed the fairway well left, punched out short of the green and chipped in from 81 feet.

“[Rory McIlroy] just kind of said it looked like a ‘3’ the whole day and I kind of laughed because I played with him at The Players and I chipped in three times that first round with him, so I guess he's good luck for me,” Thomas said.

Getty Images

McIlroy two behind Woods, Rose after 68

By Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2018, 11:46 pm

ATLANTA – Maybe it should be no huge surprise that Rory McIlroy finds himself back in contention at the Tour Championship. It is, after all, a Ryder Cup year.

In 2016, McIlroy won the finale before heading to Hazeltine and posting a 3-2-0 record. In ’14, he finished runner-up to Billy Horschel and went 2-1-2 at the Ryder Cup; and in ’12 he finished tied for 10th place at East Lake and went 3-2-0 at Medinah.

“I was on such a high a couple of years ago going into Hazeltine after winning the whole thing, and I felt great about my game that week and played well. I won three matches,” McIlroy said. “I guess it doesn't matter whether it's a match play event or whatever. If you're playing well and you've played well the week before, I think most people can carry it into the next week, whatever that is.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

McIlroy’s performance this week certainly qualifies as “playing well.” He charged out on Friday with birdies at two of his first three holes and bounced back from a pair of late bogeys to shoot a 68 and was in third place and two strokes off the lead held by Tiger Woods and Justin Rose.

“I've made 12 birdies in 36 holes, which is really good around here, and that's with not birdieing either of the par 5s today,” he said. “So yeah, just tidy up the mistakes a little bit.”