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
  • Full-field scores from the Kraft Nabisco Championship
  • Full coverage of the Kraft Nabisco Championship
  • Getty Images

    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

    Getty Images

    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

    Getty Images

    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

    Getty Images

    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”