Sorenstam in trouble after opening 74 at ADT

By Associated PressNovember 20, 2008, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. ' Annika Sorenstam arrived at the first tee Thursday morning, shook a few hands and got a kiss on the cheek from Donald Trump.
 
Then she turned to the gallery and waved.
 
On Friday, unless she moves a bit up the leaderboard, shell be waving goodbye.
 
Lorena Ochoa
Defending champion Lorena Ochoa opened in 3-over 75 Thursday. (Getty Images)
Sorenstam shot a 2-over par 74 in Thursdays opening round of the ADT Championship, good for a tie for 23rd in the 32-woman event, her final LPGA Tour appearance before stepping away from competitive golf. The field gets trimmed to 16 after Fridays play, meaning Sorenstam has some work remaining just to reach the weekend.
 
Otherwise, her LPGA career will come to an unceremonious end.
 
I was a little nervous. I feel like Im playing good. Im excited about the week, Sorenstam said. But Im telling you, nothing went my way today.
 
Indeed, it was not a dominant round for the woman who once controlled her sport. She went barefoot into the water on the par-3 seventh to salvage a bogey and was 4 over through 10 holes, putting her into what seemed like a precarious spot.
 
But as shes done so many times throughout her 72-win career, the Hall of Famer rallied.
 
Sorenstam put together consecutive birdies on the par-4 14th and par-5 15th to stop the bogey bleeding and eventually finished six shots behind Katherine Hull (68).
 
I think she wants to win a few more, Hull said. But I guess time will tell.
 
Sorenstam is a four-time ADT winner and a giant fan of the Trump International course, but in this double-cut, erase-the-scores format, shes never even reached the weekend.
 
The scores are erased after Fridays play, then get wiped clear again after Saturdays round, after which only the top eight get invited back Sunday to play for the $1 million winners prize.
 
You cant really practice this format. Its once a year, said Sorenstam, who announced her plans to leave the game, start a family and tend to her business interests six months ago. You just have to go out and play your best golf and see where you stand.
 
Hull, one of the hottest players on tour over the last three months, finished one shot better than Ji-Yai Shin and In-Kyung Kim. Three others ' Ji Young Oh, Eun-Hee Ji and Na Yeon Choi ' were two strokes off Hulls pace.
 
Oddly, little attention was paid to the top of the leaderboard.
 
Most of the star power was off the first page.
 
World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa, the defending champion, was 6 over in one rough eight-hole stretch and finished tied for 26th after a 75. Cristie Kerr, last years U.S. Womens Open champion and a member at Trump International, was tied for 29th ' last ' after shooting 78 and will play alone Friday morning. Inbee Park, the reigning U.S. Open winner, withdrew after starting a whopping 13 over through 14 holes.
 
A few birdies will help, Ochoa said. I can do that.
 
Paula Creamer, who could catch Ochoa for the money title if she wins this week, was tied with Karen Stupples and Christina Kim for seventh place, three shots behind Hull. Seven players, including hometown favorite Morgan Pressel' whose Boca Raton base is a mere 30 minutes south of West Palm Beach'were tied for 10th after even-par rounds of 72.
 
Pressel said she made less than nothing in her opening round, lamenting that she wasted plenty of chances.
 
I think its probably set up the easiest since Ive played here, Pressel said.
 
Not everyone came away with the same assessment. Far from it, actually.
 
I think this is probably the toughest the course has ever been set up for us, said Karrie Webb, who had two birdies in her final three holes to salvage a 73.
 
The format remains a mystery to some players, including Shin, who struggled to answer if she enjoyed the unusual ADT setup.
 
I think its very tough, Shin said. It is, I think, very funny. Yeah, very funny.
 
Hull, who won the Canadian Open to start a run of six top-10 finishes in her last nine events, might have been the only one who found the course funny on Thursday. She only made two bogeys, and answered each one immediately with a birdie.
 
Just tried to execute the game plan and have fun, Hull said.
 
Hull said she wont play any differently Friday even though it would take a huge collapse for her to not qualify for Saturday.
 
Sorenstam, set to make her last start in three weeks in the Dubai Ladies Masters, wont change her approach either, even though she knows her spot in the weekend fields is hardly assured.
 
You just have to be patient, just fairways and greens, Sorenstam said. Its worked in the past for me, so Im not really going to change it. I just have to make a few more putts.
 
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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.  

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    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.” 

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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.