Sorenstam Ready to Move Forward

By Associated PressJune 29, 2005, 4:00 pm
GLADSTONE, N.J. -- Annika Sorenstam is ready for a new challenge after her disappointing finish in the U.S. Women's Open.
Her Grand Slam bid derailed last week at Cherry Hills, the Swedish star will open the inaugural HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship on Thursday against former Solheim Cup teammate Joanne Morley.
'Match play is very, very different than stroke play,' Sorenstam said Wednesday. 'I think it's fun to have a different format. It's a little bit more drama because anything can happen and every hole is a different match.'
Last week in Colorado, she finished over par in a 72-hole event for the first time in four years, tying for 23rd at 12 over ' nine strokes behind winner Birdie Kim.
'I've analyzed last week quite a bit trying to figure out what happened and pretty much what really didn't happen,' Sorenstam said. 'I just came to the conclusion that I tried, but things just didn't add up. I was pretty happy with the way I hit the ball and pretty happy the way I was putting. I just wasn't happy with where I ended up.'
Sorenstam has six victories ' including major wins in the Nabisco and LPGA Championship ' in nine starts this year to push her LPGA Tour total to 62. She will have to win six matches ' four on the final two days ' on Hamilton Farm's hilly, water-logged Highlands Course to take the $500,000 winner's check.
'Obviously, endurance is going to play a role, there's no doubt about it,' Sorenstam said. 'It's a hilly course and you've got to be in good shape, especially if the temperatures are up there. If we get the humidity, it could be quite tough. Having said that, I'm glad that I've been working out the last few years.'
The Hall of Famer played her pro-am round Wednesday morning before heavy rain drenched the already soggy course 45 miles west of New York City.
'Today, I was playing very aggressive,' Sorenstam said. 'The fairways are quite wide and it's also very wet. You don't get a lot of roll. You hit it somewhere and know it's going to stop there.'
Sorenstam and Morley, a 38-year-old English player who won the European tour's German Open in 1996 and 2000, had lunch together Wednesday. They were teammates in Europe's loss to the United States in the 1996 Solheim Cup in Wales.
'I'm looking forward to playing against her,' Sorenstam said.
Cristie Kerr, second behind Sorenstam among the 60 qualifiers from the money list in the 64-player field, will face Lindsey Wright, while third-seeded Lorena Ochoa will open against Laurie Rinker, and No. 4 Paula Creamer will play Maria Hjorth.
'I live part-time in Manhattan, so I'm very familiar with the area,' Kerr said. 'Being from Miami, I love hot and humid weather, so I feel right at home here. ... I'm staying at a really nice house that a friend of mine lent me. So instead of being in a hotel, it's a little bit more of a homey feel.'
Kerr, the Michelob Ultra Open winner early last month, tied for 10th last week for her only top-10 finish in her last four events. She had six top-three finishes in her first eight tournaments of the year.
'I've played well, but things haven't quite come together,' Kerr said. 'I'm a little disappointed with the way I've played the last month and half, but that's golf.'
In other first-round matchups, fifth-seeded Natalie Gulbis will face Marisa Baena, Kim will open against Sophie Gustafson, Japanese star Ai Miyazato will play Laura Diaz, and Hall of Famer Juli Inkster will face Sung Ah Yim.
Inkster is 4-1 in singles play in the Solheim Cup and swept the 1980-82 U.S. Women's Amateur titles, winning 18 straight matches.
Sorenstam is 3-2-1 in Solheim Cup singles. She also won the 2001 CISCO World Ladies Match Play in Japan, beating Se Ri Pak 1-up in the final. ... First-round losers will get $5,000 from the $2 million purse. ... Sixteen countries are represented in the 64-player field. There are 23 Americans, 13 players from South Korea, five from Sweden, three each from Australia and England, two each from Scotland, Canada and Japan and one each from France, Italy, Mexico, Taiwan, Chili, Brazil, Colombia and the Philippines. ... Players will be shuttled by cart from the greens to tees on Nos. 3-4 and 11-12, both long, uphill stretches.
Related links:
  • Macth Play Tee Times
  • Full Coverage - HSBC Womens World Match Championship
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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

    Getty Images

    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.