Sorenstam Shares Lead With Saiki at PING
Sorenstam, coming off victories in her first two events of the year, shot a 2-under 70 in cold conditions Friday for a share of the lead with Kim Saiki.
Sorenstam had three birdies and one bogey during a second-round 70 on Friday. Sorenstam won last year with LPGA Tour-record scores of 59 in the second round and 27-under 261 for four rounds. She made two late birdies this time for a 36-hole score of 137 and at least a share of the lead in Phoenix for the fifth consecutive round.
'I'm content with my score, not really with my game,' Sorenstam said. 'I think I drove the ball well. I didn't miss the fairway, but I missed some greens with my irons, which ... I was quite surprised. And I worked on my swing a lot. I couldn't really find the rhythm out there.'
Saiki thrived in the same conditions, firing a 67.
'I feel great,' said Saiki, who went seven months between tournaments after developing medical problems. 'I haven't competed for quite a while.'
Wind was the problem in the first round. In the second, early starters had to contend with unseasonable cold. The start was delayed 20 minutes by frost on the greens, and four players were stranded on the Moon Valley Country Club course by darkness.
A threesome including Jackie Gallagher-Smith, one of five first-round leaders, had two holes to make up Saturday morning before the cut.
Akiko Fukushima was alone at 138 after a 70 that included three straight birdies from Nos. 14-16.
'I had really good concentration today. I didn't worry about results,' she said.
Cristie Kerr and Rachel Teske were two shots back after 69s. Emilee Klein and Kelly Robbins, two other first-day leaders, each carded a 73 to finish at 140.
Karrie Webb, who won the Australian Open on March 3 in her last tournament, was on the cut line at 4-over 148, positioned to make her 48th consecutive cut since Sept. 25, 1999. She improved on Thursday's 77 with a 71.
But Nancy Lopez (149), 1998 Phoenix champion Liselotte Neumann (149), 2000 winner Charlotta Sorenstam (151) and Laura Davies (157) all were getting the weekend off.
Davies, who won four straight titles in Phoenix (1994-97), left herself little room to recover after an opening 81.
Saiki, a non-winner in nine full seasons, took medical leave at the end of July to cure a viral inner-ear infection, spent extra time off the tour to allow ankle and shoulder injuries to heal and didn't get back until the season-opener in Hawaii two weeks ago.
Despite feeling that her game had improved under the tutelage of new teacher Greg Labell, Saiki missed the cut there -- her 13th second-round departure in 16 events since 2000.
'I think it was just because I took such a long break,' she said. 'Quite honestly, I didn't think I would be progressing this quickly.'
She was in rare form this time, coming within one stroke of her career-best round with eight birdies to compensate for bogeys on Nos. 6, 9 and 15.
It took her two holes to respond to the first bogey, but she birdied immediately after each of the next two, reaching 6-under at the 16th hole and sinking one of four birdie putts of more than 12 feet on No. 17.
Sorenstam, who started later, was bothered more by the cold and had a simpler scorecard -- a bogey on the 12th hole after a back-nine start, followed by birdies on the 17th, sixth and eighth.
She saved par at the finish, getting a 55-foot putt from the fringe to stop within four feet of the hole, then glanced at the leaderboard where Saiki's score stood out.
'I'm a leaderboard watcher,' Sorenstam said. 'I mean, I know where I was standing. I try to make birdies on every hole, even if I'm five ahead or five behind. I felt more in the groove on the back nine, kind of slowed down my tempo a little bit, got a little warmer.'
Full-field scores from the PING Banner Health
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18