Annika Needs a Rally - COPIED - COPIED

By Brian HewittNovember 21, 2008, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. ' After 72 LPGA victories, 17 international wins, and a Hall of Fame career that included a stunning 59, Annika Sorenstams swan song in America has been reduced to 18 holes that more closely resemble the final round of Q-School.
 
And isnt that more than just a little incongruous?
 
Yes, folks, Annika Sorenstam, arguably the best female ever to swing a golf club, has to climb into the top 16 by end of business Friday at the ADT Championship or her competitive career, at least for now, is finished.
 
You cant really practice this format, Sorenstam said Thursday after carding a disappointing 2-over 74 that would have been even worse if she hadnt birdied two of her last five holes. I didnt perform today.
 
Which means she must perform much better Friday if she wants to advance in this unique format that pares the 32-player field to 16 after 36 holes. Sorenstam is currently tied for 23rd with two other players, six shots behind leader Katherine Hull.
 
Sorenstam is a four-time winner of this event, but not since the format changed drastically in 2006. The smart money at tricky Trump International late Thursday was guessing that a Friday 69 would get Sorenstam to the weekend.
 
But she will have to start putting better on The Donalds fast and tricky greens. Its been like this for the last six months, Annika said. But Im making zero putts. Neither of her two birdie efforts was longer than 10 feet. Suffering with Annika was a decidedly pro-Sorenstam gallery that included her father, Tom Sorenstam; her agent, Mark Steinberg; and her fianc, Mike McGee.
 
All 16 players who survive Friday will begin at level par Saturday. The ADT format then calls for a cut from 16 players to eight before Sundays virtual winner-take-all final round. And again, all eight players Sunday will start out even.
 
Very funny, yeah, really funny, said South Koreas Ji-Yai Shin when asked about the format. Shin is tied with In-Kyung Kim, one back of Hull.
 
The good news for Sorenstam, who has two more events outside the U.S. in 2008 before getting married Jan. 11, is that the winner will walk away with a cool million. Second place money drops all the way down to $100,000. Third place pays a measly $20,500.
 
Sorenstam did not look at a leaderboard all day and wouldnt learn until later that world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa, at 3 over, was in an even more precarious position than she was. Im going to need to work harder, Ochoa said.
 
Hull is an Australian who admits that length off the tee isnt her strength. But she strung together a pair of nine-hole 34s that added up to 68 and sole possession of the lead.
 
Like just about everybody else here who believes Sorenstam wont play in 2009 but will return to the LPGA, perhaps after starting a family, Hull had an opinion. I dont think shes retiring actually, Hull said. I think shes too much of a competitor to really walk away from the game.
 
Which is precisely why Thursdays 74, despite a ball-striking effort that produced 14 greens in regulation, was so frustrating for Sorenstam. I was trying to enjoy this, she said. But I have too much competitiveness in my blood.
 
Friday she needs a competitive score on her card. She will have to improve on the 33 putts she needed Thursday. If not, she will have missed the first of two cuts on her last event in this country for a long time.
 
And it will be like Q-School in that there will be a number she will need to get her into the final 16 ' or at least into a playoff that will get her into the final 16. If she doesnt equal or better that number, her year in this country will be over.
 
And wont that be more than just a little incongruous?
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard ' ADT Championship
  • Full Coverage ' ADT Championship
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

    Getty Images

    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

    Getty Images

    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

    Getty Images

    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.