Meunier-Lebouc leads Kraft Nabisco by three

Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2003

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- On a day when Annika Sorenstam struggled and a French player led the Kraft Nabisco, a long- hitting 13-year-old gave fans a glimpse into the future of women's golf.

Michelle Wie isn't even old enough to play on a high school team, but she was good enough to shoot the best round Saturday, a 6-under 66 that put her in the final group Sunday with Sorenstam and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc.

Meunier-Lebouc shot a 2-under 70 to take a three-stroke lead over Sorenstam and four over Wie, who was as unflappable as an eighth-grader in a major championship could be.

''I didn't even know what I was shooting,'' Wie said. ''I just felt like I had to make one more birdie.''

Wie almost did, lipping out a 4-footer on the final hole Saturday, one of two short back-nine misses that were still bothering the eighth-grader from Honolulu some time later.

''It's killing me right now,'' she said. ''I could have been second by now.''

That spot was occupied by two-time defending champion Sorenstam, who had short putting troubles of her own and finished with a 71.

The Players Championship

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Never mind that Jay Haas is one year away from joining the seniors. All that matters now is that he's one round away from winning The Players Championship against the most talented field in golf.

Haas, 49, capped a string of three birdies by chipping in on No. 12 and ended another wacky day on the TPC at Sawgrass by making par after hitting a fan in the back on the 18th.

It added up to the best score Saturday, a 5-under 67 and a share of the lead with Padraig Harrington going into a final round.

Sixteen players were separated by five strokes, a group that included Tiger Woods after he birdied the final two holes.

Harrington recovered from a double bogey on No. 7 when he skulled his bunker shot over the green. He finished with seven pars and a 2-under 70 to join Haas at 11-under 205.

Fred Couples (69), Davis Love III (70) and defending champion Craig Perks (70) were 9 under. Woods (68) was 6 under.



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