Creamer Pressel Take Aim at Sorenstam

By Associated PressMarch 15, 2006, 5:00 pm
SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN, Ariz. -- Paula Creamer has identified her target as she prepares to tee off in the Safeway International.
 
Its Annika Sorenstam, the No. 1 woman golfer and two-time defending Safeway International champion.
 
I compare myself to the best players, the 2005 LPGA Rookie of the Year said before the event that starts Thursday at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club. And thats Annika right now. I look ahead of me, not behind me. And I think Annika has set standards that are very high.
 
You know that when she is in a tournament, she is going to be in contention. And, you know, I want to be where shes at.
 
Sorenstam has gone places no other woman has been. Last year, she won her eighth Rolex Player of the Year award, passing Kathy Whitworth for the most in LPGA history.
 
Five years ago, at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix, Sorenstam became the only player in LPGA history to shoot a 59. Shes the only player to sweep the Player of the Year, scoring and money titles five times. Her scoring averages during the past five years have been the five best in LPGA history.
 
But Sorenstam, 35, is facing a bold challenge from a wave of talented youngsters. Many of them are in the Safeway International field, including the 19-year-old Creamer, 17-year-old Morgan Pressel and 20-year-old rookie Seon Hwa Lee, who finished a stroke behind Sorenstam last week at the MasterCard Classic in Huixquilucan, Mexico.
 
I just dont think there has been anybody out there thats been able to challenge Annika in the last couple of years, Creamer said. And now there are people.
 
Sorenstam said being pushed by tour newcomers is a great challenge, theres no doubt about it. I think the last few years weve had a lot of young and up-and-coming players that are very good. Its nice to see that they bring some attention to the tour.
This is a solid group, Sorenstam said. Theres a lot more younger players coming up, and theyve got strong games and theyre making a lot of noise.
 
Indeed, Creamer and Pressel were brought to the interview tent Tuesday to accommodate growing media demands.
 
Creamer won two events last year. The first victory, in the Sybase Classic, came four days before her high school graduation. At 18 years, 9 months and 17 days, she became the youngest winner of a multi-round event in history.
 
Two months later, Creamer won the Evian Masters and, at 18 years, 11 months and 18 days, she became the youngest player to reach $1 million in career earnings.
 
Creamers big year raised expectations'and pressure'as the season begins. Check out the cover of this years LPGA media guide, which features two golfers.
 
One is Creamer, with two career victories. The other is Sorenstam, who last week won her 67th tournament.
 
Could it be the start of a rivalry?
 
There really hadnt been anybody in a while to challenge her, Creamer said. I hope that Im that person that does that. I mean, thats what I feel like I have to do. And thats where I need to be. Shes in the spot that I want to be in.
 
Its a lofty perch. Fresh off a victory in her first LPGA tournament of the season, Sorenstam seems poised for a repeat of 2005, when she won 11 of the 21 events she entered and earned a tour-leading $2.59 million.
 
But thats not what Sorenstam is thinking as she goes after her third consecutive Safeway International victory. A week ago, she opened her season with a 1-stroke victory in the MasterCard Classic.
 
When you look back at 2005 and say, You know what? You won 10 times on the LPGA and once in Europe. You have to win 11 times to tie. That seems like too much pressure, Sorenstam said Wednesday. So I just want to start this year with a fresh line and just play what I can and see what happens.
 
Sorenstam isnt waiting for the kids to catch her. She said she tweaked her game during the winter, straightening her putting stroke and widening her stance.
 
Sorenstam also has moved on in her personal life after divorcing David Esch, her husband of eight years.
 
I am happier on the course, Sorenstam said. I am happier off the course. Obviously, thats a good balance to have.
 
Related Links:
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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 Web.com 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.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    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.