Sorenstam Humbled But Still Hopeful

By Associated PressJune 25, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Annika Sorenstam described the low point of her U.S. Open experience succinctly: '8-iron, putt, putt, putt, putt.'

The high point, she believes, could still come Sunday.

Despite a round of 2-over 73 that included an unseemly four-putt on the par-3 sixth hole, and despite trailing leaders Karen Stupples, Michelle Wie and Morgan Pressel by five strokes with just 18 holes to play, Sorenstam was not surrendering in her quest to win the third leg of the Grand Slam.

Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam's back is against the wall as she stands five off the lead at the U.S. Women's Open.
'This is a chance I am not going to give up,' she said. 'I am going to fight to the end.'

The fight will start with Sorenstam at 6-over-par 219 courtesy of a round Saturday in which she did, in fact, move one stroke closer to the lead but still failed to take advantage of the less-than-stellar rounds being shot by those in front of her.

She closed the day tied for 16th, with 12 players between her and the leaders.

'Right now, I'm not really concerned how many players are between me and the leaders,' she said. 'I think plus-4 could be a good score tomorrow. Having said that, I am at plus-6. I know what I have got to do.'

While a score of 2 under is certainly possible for Sorenstam, she has yet to break par in three tries at Cherry Hills.

Her third round started promisingly enough, with a 35-foot putt for birdie on No. 2, but the rest of the day veered between frustrating and downright messy.

There was a three-putt bogey on the third, the four-putt double on the sixth and on No. 9, a hack out of the rough that barely left the ground and traveled maybe 10 paces forward.
 
Sorenstam said she was happy with the decisions she made on the course, but it seemed like nothing quite worked, especially on the par-5s, which is where big hitters like her normally have the biggest edge.

When she played aggressively, even her good shots weren't rewarded. Take her decision to hit driver on the par-5 11th, which left her smack in the middle of the fairway and in range of the green in two. She followed with long iron that landed right of the green and she needed a nice chip and two putts to save par.
 
But when she played conservatively, that didn't work, either. On the par-5 fifth, for example, she hit two good shots to the middle of the fairway, about 100 yards away. Her third shot, however, didn't make it to the green. She had to scramble to save par there, too.
 
On No. 17, the third and final par-5, she made par after hitting her fourth shot while teetering on the bank of a pond, the result of an indifferent approach from a perfect position. She made 5 there to extend her streak to 24 par-5s in which she has failed to make birdie.

'To be honest with you, I can't really take advantage of them anymore,' she said. 'Normally, par-5s are my strength, but here, I am laying up. My distance advantage really doesn't give me any benefits here.'
 
Despite the new and different problems the 6,749-yard Cherry Hills Country Club presents her, with its ankle-high rough and postage-stamp greens, Sorenstam can't be counted out. Nineteen of her 62 career victories have come with her trailing heading into the final round.
 
Most significant among those was her 1995 U.S. Open victory, down Interstate 25 at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, where she overcame a five-stroke deficit to defeat Meg Mallon.

The one Sorenstam recalled Saturday was her 10-stroke comeback at the 2001 Office Depot Championship. She shot 66, won in a playoff and tied the LPGA record for biggest rally.
 
'It wasn't the U.S. Open, but it was a tournament with the same kind of field,' Sorenstam said.
 
Of course, one other comeback comes to mind whenever the venue is Cherry Hills. It was 45 years ago that Arnold Palmer drove the first green to start his final round en route to a rally from seven strokes behind for the win -- a record that still stands today.
 
While Sorenstam wouldn't promise to use driver on No. 1 come Sunday, she knows she needs to do something dramatic to keep her Grand Slam dream alive. 'I need to climb on the leaderboard and show them I am still here and I'mserious and we'll see,' Sorenstam said. 'I don't think I'm going to need a miracle round, but it needs to be good.'
 
Related Links:
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry