Annika Keeps Momentum Tied for the Lead

By Associated PressMay 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
Sybe ClassicCLIFTON, N.J. -- The Annika Sorenstam goodbye tour got off to a great start.
 
Two days after announcing this would be her final season on the LPGA Tour, Sorenstam shot a 5-under 67 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Sybase Classic. Two-time defending champion Lorena Ochoa was a stroke back.
 
The 37-year-old Hall of Famer came into the $2 million tournament off a dominating seven-stroke victory in the Michelob Ultra Open last weekend, and she was just as good getting around the Upper Montclair Country Club course in the shadow of New York City. The Swede had five birdies in a bogey-free round.
 
Im just very happy the way Im playing, said Sorenstam, who has three victories this year after failing to win in an injury-marred 2007 season. I worked really hard this winter and its all coming together. My swing fells really good and my putting feels really good. This is the way I enjoy the game. Its fairways and greens.
 
Song-Hee Kim, a second-year player from South Korea who has two top-10 finishes this year, also was at 67 along with Australias Rachel Hetherington, who has missed three of eight cuts and finished no better than a tie for 24th this year.
 
The leaderboard was crowded after the first day of the 72-hole event. Ochoa, a five-time winner this year, was at 68 along with Pat Hurst, Catriona Matthew, Brittany Lang, Teresa Lu and Carolina Llano.
 
U.S. Womens Open champion Cristie Kerr was in another big group at 69.
 
But the day and, really the week, has belonged to Sorenstam, seeking her third straight victory. She won the Stanford International Pro-Am on April 27 in a playoff with Paula Creamer, then took a week off before winning last week at Kingsmill.
 
After posting her 72nd career win Sunday, she seemed to take the weight of a major decision off her shoulders Tuesday by announcing that this would be her final season. She then threw out the first ball at a New York Mets game later that night and read the Top 10 list on David Lettermans show.
 
She got back to playing golf Thursday and had more fun playing in the group behind Ochoa, the Mexican superstar who replaced her as the No. 1 player in womens golf last year.
 
With a couple of fans urging her not to retire, Sorenstam had a near flawless round in making birdies from the tap-in range to 10 feet.
 
Ochoa, who always keeps an eye on the scoreboard, noticed.
 
Seeing Annikas name, were all used to that, Ochoa said. Shes there every week.
 
Sorenstam would like to walk away from the tour with the No. 1 ranking, but that will be hard to do. She probably would need to win two of the three remaining majors this year and have Ochoa finish out of the top 10, which has happened only once in eight events this year.
 
It took me many years to get there, and now that Im at the top, first I will try to enjoy it as much as I can, but I like to be there, Ochoa said. I like to win and I like the competition. I want to make sure I keep working hard to stay there.
 
Ochoa had as many birdies as Sorenstam, but her round was marred by tough luck on the par-4 12th hole. The pin on the dogleg hole was back right and guarded by a pond. Ochoas second shot from the fairway 196 yards away landed on the right edge and bounced into the pond. A foot the other way and she would have been putting for a birdie instead of bogey.
 
You have to accept its just a bad break, Ochoa said. I mean its only the first day, so hopefully Ill get good breaks.
 
Kim, who had a career-best two-place finish at the Corona Championship in Mexico in April, also had five birdies and no bogeys.
 
Hetherington, who like Kim played in the afternoon, had a bogey and six birdies, highlighted by three straight to finish the front nine.
 
Hetherington has eight career wins, including a 3-1 record against Sorenstam in playoffs. She beat her in the 1998 First Union Betsy King Classic, the 2002 PING Banner Health and 2003 Giant Eagle LPGA Classic. She lost to her in the 2000 Jamie Farr Kroger Classic.
 
Related Links:
  • Video: Annika 'Stepping Away'
  • Annika Through the Years
  • Full Coverage - Sybase Classic
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.