Annikas Season Ends Without a Win

By Associated PressNovember 16, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Annika Sorenstam's worst year since she was a rookie offered one last hope Friday afternoon in the ADT Championship when she was among three players desperate to claim the last two spots in the chase for $1 million.
 
Considering how her season has gone, she might have seen this coming.
 
Sorenstam hit a quick hook with a 5-iron into the face of a bunker, blasted over the green and was eliminated in a 3-for-2 playoff at Trump International, ending her year without a victory for the first time since 1994.
 
'I'll get over it,' she said tersely. 'I'll be back.'
 
Just not for the weekend, where the 16 players who advanced to Saturday will start the third round with their scores wiped clean.
 
Ai Miyazato of Japan saved par with a 7-foot putt on the 17th hole in the playoff, and two-putted from 35 feet on the 18th hole for par to secure one spot. The other went to Natalie Gulbis, who also had pars on the two playoff holes.
 
Mi Hyun Kim had a 2-under 70 and finished atop the leaderboard at 7-under 137, one shot better than Kraft Nabisco champion Morgan Pressel, who switched to a conventional putting grip for the first time in her life and is seeing instant gratification.
 
The clutch play came from Karrie Webb, who opened with a 76 and was on the verge of going home until she shot 70 with a stunning finish. Webb was a 3 over and hopeful of two-putting from 50 feet to at least get into a playoff. She fell to the ground when her putt dropped into the hole for birdie, qualifying for the weekend.
 
The quirky nature of this format was best illustrated at the end of the day. When the playoff was over, Miyazato and Gulbis instantly picked up 10 shots on the leader because everyone starts Saturday with a clean slate.
 
Also in the 16-way tie for first were Lorena Ochoa, Christina Kim, Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Sophie Gustafson, Paula Creamer, Juli Inkster, Nicole Castrale, Catriona Matthew, Seon Hwa Lee and Sarah Lee.
 
The field will be cut in half to eight players after Saturday, and the scores again will be wiped clean, setting up an 18-hole shootout Sunday with $1 million going to the winner. Second place is worth $100,000.
 
This is the second year of this format, and the second year Sorenstam was headed home on the weekend. But it was not nearly as shocking this year considering her circumstances. She missed nearly two months of competition with injuries to her back and neck, and figures she played at full strength in less than half her events.
 
But she was playing better, that might be the most frustrating of all.
 
Her opening 74 was slowed by three balls in the water. She came out firing in the second round with three birdies on the first six holes when her 4-iron to the peninsula green on the par-3 seventh faded slightly and into the water. She took a penalty drop into a hanging lie in the rough and nearly shanked the next shot into the water. Once on the green, she two-putted for a quadruple-bogey 7.
 
'That's probably the toughest thing you can do in golf is to get off to such a great start and then walk away after the seventh hole and be 1-over par,' she said. 'It's tough to describe in words, but it feels like you get stabbed in the back, even though it was your own fault. I was on such a high, and then you're on such a low in 10 minutes.'
 
Worse yet was missing a 3-foot par putt on the 16th, then narrowly missing a birdie putt on the 18th.
 
Nothing stung like the playoff among three players with worldwide appeal in women's golf. Sorenstam was in great shape off the 18th tee on the second extra hole, but she came over the top of the 5-iron, it hooked sharply and all she could see in the fading sunlight was a white splash of sand. Sorenstam faced a long bunker shot on the upslope, and she misjudged the distance.
 
The 20-foot par putt from off the back of the green never had a chance. And after Miyazato made a 4-foot par putt, with Gulbis only a foot away for par, Sorenstam nodded to Gulbis to finish up as she handed her caddie the putter.
 
'The bad second shot set me up for a tough shot,' Sorenstam said. 'I had a chance to be part of the weekend, and it didn't happen.'
 
The low round of a cool, blustery day belonged to Pressel, the 19-year-old who lives a half-hour away and has playing privileges at Trump International. She ran off eight birdies in her round of 65 to easily qualify for the weekend, and give her renewed confidence that a mini-slump might be over.
 
What helped was her putting grip. Pressel has been cross-handed since she first placed a putter in her hands as a child, but after more frustration at the Mizuno Classic, where she finished 25th.
 
'I putted better than I can ever remember putting, so that's kind of nice,' Pressel said. 'This is the best I've played in a very long time. I'm pretty happy about that.'
 
Still to be determined is who has the momentum -- those who have played well for two days but now have to start over, or those who narrowly squeaked into the final 16 and feel as though they have a second chance.
 
'The first part of the job is done,' Pettersen said. 'Now, we're all starting over.'
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - ADT Championship
  • Full Coverage - ADT Championship
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.