No Scoring Title For Annika
But that won't be enough for her to win another Vare Trophy.
The LPGA Tour requires at least 70 rounds to be eligible for the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average. Srenstam, who hasn't missed a cut and has finished out of the top 10 only twice, has played only 53 rounds with three tournaments left on her schedule.
Even if she were to add a tournament, she could not reach 70 rounds.
'I cannot tell you how mad that makes me,' Srenstam said in an interview last week. 'I'm not going to get the trophy and I'm leading by almost a shot.'
Srenstam is at 69.19, while Se Ri Pak is a distant second at 70.0.
It would have been her sixth Vare Trophy, one short of the record held by Kathy Whitworth.
Srenstam is playing five fewer events than last year, some of that because of scheduling. Some tournaments were moved around -- Takefuji went from February in Hawaii to April in Las Vegas -- and Srenstam also had to prepare herself for the Bank of America Colonial, which gave the LPGA more publicity than ever.
'I feel like I've done so much, and now I'm not going to win one of the awards that means the most to me,' Srenstam said.
Srenstam has talked with LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaw, but the rules can't change for one person.
Still, it might be time to adjust the minimum requirement for the Vare Trophy, especially since the LPGA Tour has done away with its Florida swing and doesn't start the season until mid-March.
It also has several three-round tournaments. Srenstam has played seven of them this year.
The PGA of America requires only 60 rounds on the PGA Tour to be eligible for the Vardon Trophy.
Srenstam believes 15 events should be enough to qualify for the scoring title.
'To be in the Hall of Fame, I had to play 15 events,' Srenstam said. 'But that's still not good enough for the Vare Trophy.'
Pak already has played 79 rounds and would win her first Vare Trophy if she hangs on. It also would leave Pak, 26, just one point shy of the Hall of Fame. Because of the 10-year requirement, she wouldn't be eligible until 2007.
BUBBLE UPDATE: Robert Allenby was going through his schedule for the remainder of the year when he left Atlanta three weeks ago, saying he hoped he would be in Houston for the Tour Championship.
He was on the bubble for the top 30, but not anymore.
Allenby tied for ninth at the Las Vegas Invitational and was fourth at the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro, moving him to 20th on the money list and assuring him a tee time at Champions Golf Club.
Other big moves last week:
- K.J. Choi went from 31st to 26th with a tie for fifth.
- Shigeki Maruyama brought the Tour Championship into view by winning, moving from 76th to 35th.
- Matt Gogel secured his card for next year by finishing third, going from 105th to 76th, while Jeff Brehaut did the same with a tie for fifth. He went from No. 122 to No. 97.
- Jesper Parnevik shot 65 on Sunday and tied for 22nd, moving him from 126th to 121st. Parnevik's lowest round of the year came after a heated split with caddie Lance Ten Broeck. He used an acquaintance -- who happens to be a Tibetan monk -- as his caddie in the final round.
SHIGEKI'S PAIN: Even more amazing than winning on the PGA Tour three years in a row is the pain Shigeki Maruyama has to endure.
It started in 1994 with a practice session that would have made Vijay Singh proud.
'When I started hitting the ball in the driving range, I was not going to stop until dawn,' Maruyama said. 'I practiced every day.'
That led to neck and shoulder injuries that have cost him some distance off the tee, and required more cortisone shots than he can remember.
Maruyama considered surgery earlier this year, but said doctors would have had to cut around the front part of his neck and he would not have been able to play for two years.
He overcame that last week by winning at Greensboro, joining Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Justin Leonard as the only players who have won each of the last three years.
Maruyama says he takes a hot shower for 40 minutes every morning, and puts ice on his neck and shoulder up to four times each night.
DIVOTS: The Players Championship contributed a record $2 million to more than 70 charities in northeast Florida. Since the tournament moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977, it has contributed more than $17 million to charities. ... Scott Hoch withdrew from the Funai Classic at Walt Disney World Resort because of an ongoing hand injury, ending his streak of 24 straight appearances. Instead of calling, Hoch drove to the tournament office to withdraw. ... The final round of the World Match Play Championship caused split loyalties for Belgian sports psychologist Jos Vanstiphout, whose top two clients are Ernie Els and Thomas Bjorn. With $1.6 million going to the winner, Bjorn had a good idea where to find him. 'I'm sure he's sitting home somewhere counting (money),' he said.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Shigeki Maruyama's 22-under 266 was the 16th time this year that the winning score was 20 under or better. Last year, that happened only nine times.
FINAL WORD: ``Last time I looked we're selling tickets at the door, just like the Cubs and the NHL and the movie theaters. This is entertainment.' - Peter Jacobsen.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders
PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.
She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.
Her confidence is high.
“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”
Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.
Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.
“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”
Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.
“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”
Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.
“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”
That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.
Returning Park grabs 54-hole Founders lead
PHOENIX – In the long shadows falling across Wildfire Golf Club late Saturday afternoon, Inbee Park conceded she was tempted to walk away from the game last year.
While healing a bad back, she was tempted to put her clubs away for good and look for a second chapter for her life.
But then . . .
“Looking at the girls playing on TV, you think you want to be out there” Park said. “Really, I couldn't make my mind up when I was taking that break, but as soon as I'm back here, I just feel like this is where I belong.”
In just her second start after seven months away from the LPGA, Park is playing like she never left.
She’s atop a leaderboard at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, looking like that’s exactly where she belongs.
With a 9-under-par 63 Saturday, Park seized the lead going into the final round.
At 14 under overall, she’s one shot ahead of Mariajo Uribe (67), two ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn (68) and three ahead of 54-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies (63) and Chella Choi (66).
Park’s back with a hot putter.
That’s not good news for the rest of the tour. Nobody can demoralize a field with a flat stick like Park. She’s one of the best putters the women’s game has ever seen, and on the front nine Saturday she looked as good as she ever has.
“The front nine was scary,” said her caddie, Brad Beecher, who was on Park’s bag for her long run at world No. 1, her run of three consecutive major championship victories in 2013 and her gold medal victory at the Olympics two years ago.
“The front nine was great . . . like 2013,” Park said.
Park started her round on fire, going birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie. She was 6 under through five holes. She holed a wedge from 98 yards at the third hole, making the turn having taken just 10 putts. Yeah, she said, she was thinking about shooting 59.
“But I'm still really happy with my round today,” she said.
Park isn’t getting ahead of herself, even with this lead. She said her game isn’t quite where she wants it with the ANA Inspiration, the year’s first major championship, just two weeks away, but a victory Sunday should go a long way toward getting her there.
Park is only 29. LPGA pros haven’t forgotten what it was like when she was dominating, when she won 14 times between 2013 and ’15.
They haven’t forgotten how she can come back from long layoffs with an uncanny ability to pick up right where she left off.
Park won the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year in just her second start. She left the tour again in the summer with an aching back.
“I feel like Inbee could take off a whole year or two years and come back and win every week,” said Brittany Lincicome, who is four shots behind Park. “Her game is just so consistent. She doesn't do anything flashy, but her putting is flashy.
“She literally walks them in. It's incredible, like you know it's going in when she hits it. It's not the most orthodox looking stroke, but she can repeat it.”
Park may not play as full a schedule as she has in the past, Beecher said, but he believes she can thrive with limited starts.
“I think it helps her get that fight back, to get that hunger back,” Beecher said. “She knows she can play 15 events a year and still compete. There aren’t a lot of players who can do that.”
Park enjoyed her time away last year, and how it re-energized her.
“When I was taking the long break, I was just thinking, `I can do this life as well,’” Park said. “But I'm glad I came back out here. Obviously, days like today, that's the reason I'm playing golf.”
Joh on St. Patrick's ace: Go broke buying green beers
PHOENIX – Tiffany Joh was thrilled making a run into contention to win her first LPGA title Saturday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she comically cracked that her hole-in-one might have been ill-timed.
It came on St. Patrick’s Day.
“This is like the worst holiday to be making a hole-in-one on,” Joh said. “You'll go broke buying everyone green beers.”
Joh aced the fifth hole with a 5-iron from 166 yards on her way to an 8-under-par 64. It left her four shots behind the leader, Inbee Park (63).
One of the more colorful players on tour, Joh said she made the most of her hole-in-one celebration with playing partner Jane Park.
“First I ran and tackled Jane, then I high-fived like every single person walking to the green,” Joh said.
Joh may be the LPGA’s resident comedian, but she faced a serious challenge on tour last year. Fourteen months ago, she had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma. She won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award for the way she handled her comeback.
Davies, 54, still thinks she can win, dreams of HOF
PHOENIX – Laura Davies limped around Wildfire Golf Club Saturday with an ache radiating from her left Achilles up into her calf muscle at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“Every step is just misery,” Davies said after. “It’s just getting older. Don’t get old.”
She’s 54, but she played the third round as if she were 32 again.
That’s how old she was when she was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year and won two major championships.
With every sweet swing Saturday, Davies peeled back the years, turning back the clock.
Rolling in a 6-foot birdie at the 17th, Davies moved into a tie for the lead with Inbee Park, a lead that wouldn’t last long with so many players still on the course when she finished. Still, with a 9-under-par 63, Davies moved into contention to try to become the oldest winner in LPGA history.
Davies has won 20 LPGA titles, 45 Ladies European Tour titles, but she hasn’t won an LPGA event in 17 years, since taking the Wegmans Rochester International.
Can she can surpass the mark Beth Daniel set winning at 46?
“I still think I can win,” Davies said. “This just backs that up for me. Other people, I don’t know, they’re always asking me now when I’m going to retire. I always say I’m still playing good golf, and now here’s the proof of it.”
Davies knows it will take a special day with the kind of final-round pressure building that she hasn’t experienced in awhile.
“The pressure will be a lot more tomorrow,” she said. “We'll see, won’t sleep that well tonight. The good news is that I’ll probably be four or five behind by the end of the day, so the pressure won’t be there as much.”
Davies acknowledged confidence is harder to garner, as disappointments and missed cuts pile up, but she’s holding on to her belief she can still win.
“I said to my caddie, `Jeez, I haven't been on top of the leaderboard for a long time,’” Davies said. “That's nice, obviously, but you’ve got to stay there. That's the biggest challenge.”
About that aching left leg, Davies was asked if it could prevent her from challenging on Sunday.
“I’ll crawl around if I have to,” she said.
Saturday’s 63 was Davies’ lowest round in an LPGA event since she shot 63 at the Wendy’s Championship a dozen years ago.
While Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in ’01. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.
Davies said she still dreams about qualifying.
“You never know,” she said.