Annika Hardly Thrilled with Start of Season
A fine start for some. In Annika Sorenstam's world, this is practically a major slump.
Sorenstam is winless in her last four starts, finishing fourth Sunday at the Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open near Orlando, where a final-round 67 was her lone sub-70 round of the week. And considering how quickly the top-ranked women's player has started recent seasons, maybe this qualifies as a bit of a slide.
'Resultswise, I'm not so pleased,' Sorenstam said. 'But I'm happy with the way I'm playing. I'm just going to keep on grinding. Hopefully, it will turn around.'
Those are two words not typically associated with one another -- especially early in the year.
She opened this season with a victory at the MasterCard Classic, the third straight year that Sorenstam has won the first event she enters. Another win looked likely three events later at the Florida's National Charity Championship, but she dropped the lead with a final-round 75 and lost by two shots.
'Maybe it's changing,' said Cristie Kerr, who finished tied for second with Sorenstam after that final round debacle. 'But in the past, you would never be able to catch her.'
Sorenstam won six of her first eight tournaments in 2005, breaking 70 a total of 22 times in those 30 rounds. Her knack for strong starts is all but an annual rite:
-- She won four times in her first eight starts in 2004.
-- She was first or second five times in a seven-start span to open 2003.
-- She won three of seven early events in 2002.
-- She was first or second seven times in her first eight starts in 2001.
This year, Sorenstam is on the leaderboards with the same regularity -- just not atop them. And she said there's only one real problem with her game.
'Just the scoring part, which is the biggest part,' Sorenstam said. 'I mean, I'm working on everything and at least the last week I've been hitting it really well. I'm hoping that it's all turning around. I really am.'
At the Ginn, on a course she knew better than most of the field, Sorenstam was never in position make a run at the lead. Ball-striking wasn't an issue; she hit about two of every three fairways and four out of every five greens. But 124 putts -- 12 more than winner Mi Hyun Kim took over the four days -- was her undoing.
'I had a lot of chances,' Sorenstam said. 'I'm just not converting anything and when you don't, then you're making mistakes and walking away with bogey. So it's very frustrating and that's kind of how I feel like it's been the last month or so.'
Sorenstam's next event is in two weeks, the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill. This week, her goal is simply to figure out what's lacking right now and correct it -- a challenge she said she'd welcome.
'I love the competition and to see all the young players come up,' Sorenstam said. 'Their games are getting better and I've got to step up, myself, which I think is good for me. I've got to find new ways to practice and new ways to get better.'
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18