Annika Lets Clubs Do Talking

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2005, 5:00 pm
2004 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Annika Sorenstam is in charge again, and there was no disputing that.
One day after a chilly confrontation with Paula Creamer over a drop, Sorenstam put it out of her mind Friday and made two eagles on her way to a 2-under 70, giving her a two-shot lead over Hee-Won Han at the season-ending ADT Championship.
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam had two eagles and two bogeys in her round of 2-under 70 Friday.
After the round, however, she wasn't pleased to hear how strongly Creamer felt about Sorenstam's drop on the 18th hole in the first round.
Creamer insisted that Sorenstam's tee shot stayed over the water during its flight, and that the 35-year-old Swede should have gone back to the tee for her third shot, instead of to a drop area about 190 yards from the hole.
The 19-year-old rookie said in her 'heart of hearts,' she did not think the ball ever crossed land, and she later said of Sorenstam that 'it's her conscience.'
'I'm mostly surprised she feels that way,' Sorenstam said. 'I'm disappointed that she feels that way. Obviously, she has the right to feel any way she wants. But I really didn't interpret the situation like that out there at all. For me, it was a bad shot. We were trying to figure out where to drop.'
There were no such issues on a gloomy afternoon Friday, just scrappy golf by just about everyone trying to handle the strong breeze and light rain that came down sideways over the final two hours.
Sorenstam did just enough.
She is the defending champion at Trump International, and she is accustomed to being atop the leaderboard. Even so, Sorenstam could not recall having a round under par without making any birdies.
She didn't need any.
First came a 7-wood on the par-5 fifth hole, from 194 yards to a front pin that stopped 10 feet away. On the par-5 ninth, she hammered another drive and had 217 yards to the hole. Sorenstam again hit 7-wood with a gentle breeze at her back, and it stopped 12 feet from the hole.
Those eagles offset two bogeys -- a poor tee shot on the opening hole, a pedestrian chip on the par-3 seventh -- and she avoided trouble that so many others faced to finish at 5-under 139.
Han had an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-5 15th for a share of the lead, but ran the putt some 4 feet by the hole and missed it coming back for a three-putt bogey. She would up with a 74, two shots behind.
As tough as Trump played, Cristie Kerr made it look easy and gave herself a shot at redemption. Kerr lost in a playoff to Sorenstam last year by making double bogey on the 18th hole. Starting the second round in 27th place among the top 30 on the money list, she shot a 6-under 66 and wound up tied for third with Michele Redman (73), just three shots behind Sorenstam.
'I want another shot at it,' Kerr said.
Creamer likes her chances, too, although she could have done without a bogey on the 18th hole when she chipped from the side of the hill to about 4 feet and missed the par putt. That gave her a 75 that featured two double bogeys.
The first one came on the opening hole, when she twice caught the lip of a bunker -- off the fairway, and to the right of the green -- and had to make a 25-foot putt to limit the damage. The other double bogey came on the par-3 seventh hole for the second straight day, where a hybrid club found the water.
She shot 40 on the front nine, but still left herself in the hunt at 1-under 143, along with Liselotte Neumann (74) and Meena Lee (71).
'I'm playing good enough golf to be leading this tournament,' Creamer said.
While Sorenstam was disappointed to read Creamer's remarks, the teen was surprised Sorenstam was still bothered by Thursday's dispute.
'I just said what I felt,' Creamer said. 'That's golf.'
They were not paired together Friday, and they will be separated again in the third round. Their next meeting figured to be later Friday evening at Mar-a-Lago, where Sorenstam was to receive the LPGA Tour player of the year award, and Creamer was to get her rookie of the year award.
'Tonight will be a good time (to talk), I guess,' Sorenstam said.
The golf was fairly entertaining, too, part of that because of the wind that brought so much indecision over club selection and led to some interesting scores.
Juli Inkster was last after opening with an 80, then improved by 12 shots after a 68 that left her eight shots behind. She was on the range in a light rain, trying to figure out if where was a prize for most improved player.
Lorena Ochoa easily wins for wildest round.
The Mexican star had seven birdies and one eagle -- and still only shot even-par 72. She was hurt by three double bogeys -- two of them on the final three holes -- and only four pars.
Sorenstam's round was rather routine except for two 7-wood shots that put her in the lead.
'Nice to have the round over,' Sorenstam said. 'Now I can breathe.'
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