Annika Six Back in Quest of Six-Peat - COPIED

By Associated PressNovember 3, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 Mizuno ClassicMIE, Japan -- Annika Sorenstam opened her bid for an LPGA Tour record sixth straight Mizuno Classic title with a 1-under 71 on Friday, leaving the Swedish star six strokes behind first-round leader Rachel Hetherington.
Coming off a six-stroke victory Sunday in the Ladies European Tour's Dubai Ladies Masters, Sorenstam birdied the par-5 13th to reach 3 under, but bogeyed the next two holes and closed with three pars on the Kashikojima Country Club course.

'I think I played pretty good today,' Sorenstam said. 'I was happy with where I hit the ball. I hit a lot of fairways. I hit a lot of greens. I'm not disappointed about the round. I rolled in some good putts early on and I kept rolling really good putts, but didn't make anything from pretty much the fourth hole on.'
Last year, she became the first player in LPGA Tour history to win a tournament five straight times and matched the tour record she shares with Mickey Wright for victories in an event. In the Samsung Championship last month in her last LPGA Tour start, Sorenstam lost a final-round lead to Lorena Ochoa in an unsuccessful bid to become the first tour player to win an event six times.
'I don't feel any pressure,' said Sorenstam, who began her streak in 2001 at Musashigaoka and won the last four years on the Seta course in Otsu. 'I just want to come here and play, which is what I've done the last five years. I come here, enjoy myself and see what happens. I try not to think of what's at stake, or the history. I'm just happy to be here and playing and enjoying it.'
The 36-year-old star has three LPGA Tour victories this season, including her third U.S. Women's Open title, to push her career total to 69. She also has won twice on the European tour and teamed with Liselotte Neumann to win the Women's World Cup
Hetherington, the 34-year-old Australian who won the last of her eight LPGA Tour titles in 2003, shot a 7-under 65, highlighted by a 25-yard wedge shot for eagle on the 495-yard 13th. She had a good day on the greens, holing a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 2, 20-footers on Nos. 9, 11 and 15 and a 10-footer on No. 16.
'I putted very well today. I didn't hit the ball very solid, but I putted very well and chipped very well,' Hetherington said. 'I played in Thailand and South Korea last week, so this is my third week in a row. I enjoy playing the events over here. I always feel like I play well here, it's just a matter of making putts.'
Former Duke star Brittany Lang was three strokes back at 68 along with Paraguay's Julieta Granada and Japan's Mitsuko Kawasaki and Rui Kitada. Australia's Karrie Webb, seeking her fifth tour victory of the year, was in a 14-player group at 69 that included 21-year-old Japanese star Ai Miyazato.
'I didn't feel as though my swing was right,' said Webb, third last week in Dubai. 'I didn't drive the ball very well. ... The changes I made with my coach (Ian Triggs) have gotten wild. I guess the pressure got to me a little today, so I'm going to go to the range and try to iron it out.'
Webb was paired with Miyazato.
'I think the world of her,' Webb said. 'It's really fun to play alongside her and see how excited the crowds are out here and look at all the little kids cheering, 'Ai-chan! Ai-chan!' It's a lot of fun to see. The Japanese people really admire her.'
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.