Sorenstams New Goal 3 Out of 4

By Associated PressApril 1, 2004, 5:00 pm
LOS ANGELES -- After a disappointing finish in the first major of the year, Annika Sorenstam has set her sights on three-fourths of a Grand Slam.
 
The LPGA's six-time player of the year couldn't recover from a second-round 76 and finished tied for 13th in last week's Kraft Nabisco, eight strokes behind winner Grace Park.
 
'The reason I set four majors as my goal is that it's something that's never been achieved and that's what keeps me motivated: to do something I've never done,' Sorenstam said Thursday. 'I'm disappointed about that, but I have to move on. Now I want to win three majors.'
 
Sorenstam believes setting lofty goals keeps her competitive. She has six majors -- including last year's LPGA Championship and the Women's British Open to wrap up a career Grand Slam -- among her 49 titles.
 
At 33, she's already won her way into the LPGA Hall of Fame.
 
'There are always goals to find,' said Sorenstam, who opens defense of her Office Depot Championship on Friday at El Caballero Country Club. 'If I wake up one day and I don't have natural goals or I don't feel motivated or I don't feel excited, well, then it's time to do something else.
 
'Since I didn't achieve this (2004 Grand Slam), then it's in the back of my mind. I still enjoy playing, that's for sure.'
 
Always looking for new challenges, Sorenstam found a significant test when she played against the men in the Colonial last year, the first woman since 1945 to compete on the PGA Tour. She shot 71-75 to miss the cut, but certainly didn't embarrass herself.
 
She said it also helped her game.
 
'The experience I got being under the microscope and the way I prepared and the way I worked on my short game, there were so many things that I learned from Colonial that helped me last year and to carry on this year,' Sorenstam said.
 
'I've improved so much in my short game since Colonial and I have a lot to be thankful for all the tips I got from the guys and practicing with the guys and seeing how they play.'
 
Sorenstam is happy to be playing this week in Los Angeles, where she's had great success. Last year she won at El Caballero Country Club for the first of her six 2003 titles.
 
In 2001 at Wilshire Country Club, she charged from 10 shots back starting the final round to win, the biggest comeback in LPGA history. Sorenstam shot a 66 to overtake Pat Hurst, then beat Mi Hyun Kim in a playoff.
 
Two years ago at El Caballero, Sorenstam finished second, one shot behind Se Ri Pak.
 
'I've always liked old, traditional courses and this is one of those. This is a course that fits my game really well,' Sorenstam said. 'You have to hit your iron shots in the right place and that's my strength. There are some par-5s you can reach here if you're a little longer and I've had the chance to do that.
 
'There are trickier par-3s and all the things what I see as being my strengths and I think that's why I've played well here.'
 
Sorenstam, not given to complaining, does have one gripe -- slow play. She noted that her second round at Rancho Mirage last week took five hours, 45 minutes.
 
'That was outrageous,' she said. 'It's no fun to play when it takes that long and not just for the players, for the fans. Who wants to be on the course all day long?
 
'It's all about preparing when it's not your turn and then when it is your turn, you hit and move on. I think that would speed up play for sure.'
 
Related Links:
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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

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    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

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    Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

    After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

    La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

    "Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

    Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

    The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

    "That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."