Annika in a Familiar Position

By George WhiteJuly 1, 2006, 4:00 pm
Theres one day left in the 2006 U.S. Womens Open, and for yet another womens major, the situation is the same as it has been for roughly 10 years ' that is, Annika Sorenstam is solidly in the thick of it.
Sorenstam shadow-boxed with the Newport Country Club Saturday and came out even-steven with the par number. She shot a 71, with two birdies and two bogeys. In case youre wondering, thats pretty solid golf considering the course is soggy, the ball hits the ground and stops, meaning the course is playing very long. Throw in a very healthy breeze blowing constantly, and you have a recipe ready-made for high scores.
Example: Annika averages 267 in driving distance throughout the year. However, the sloppy fairways this week have cut down on any roll and she has averaged almost 20 yards less ' 248.8.
This is a tough golf course, declared Sorenstam, especially with the conditions we have. I mean, we're getting no roll whatsoever; it's a really long golf course. The rough is thick, and the pins, I think, are quite tough. You just come here for the biggest challenge that we have throughout the year.
You really have got to drive it well, got to hit your long irons well and you've got to putt well and have a good short game. This is a true test, and all parts of the game have got to work for you to score. Par sometimes is a good (score), especially when we have wind like we did today. It's two to three clubs at times, and it's really a true test.
Sorenstam has hit a speed-bump on her run to the 88-win plateau set by Kathy Whitworth. Shes been stuck on 67 since the first tournament of the year, which she won. She has nine major championships over-all, but none this year. That sounds like a very harsh analysis of Annikas play this year. But, after all, she has set the bar very high, and so much more is expected of her than an average player.
Well, she said, its been a good run for a few years, so I think everybody pushes everybody. I think Im pretty good at setting some goals. I think Im pretty good at pushing myself and trying to reach levels.
If you look at the game today, womens golf is better than its ever been. Im thankful for the people that paved the way early on for me and showed me how its done. And Id like to say Im one of the ones thats done it for the next generation.
She let it be known, though, that she still thinks she can do plenty to keep the present generation aware that she can still play - really play.
I don't think I'm over the hill by any means. I feel like I have a lot more to give and achieve, and that's really what keeps me going, she said.

If you have somebody like Juli (Inkster), when I was around she probably was in the same situation as I am now. You see new generations of young players coming. I think it's really great to see how many young good players there are. It's how good the game is and how much women's golf is growing and how popular the LPGA is growing. I'm happy to be part of it and I'm competitive as ever; whether it's Paula Creamer or Juli Inkster standing with me on the last hole, I have a chance to win and I'll give it my best.
She faces a 36-hole final day Sunday, since heavy fog wiped out the entire first day Thursday. Sorenstam engages in a concentrated physical fitness program, ensuring that she can handle the rigors of a 36-hole tour of duty. Mentally, however, there is that taxing little problem of whether the mind can handle 10 hours of concentration.
For me, its going to be the mental part more than the physical part, said Annika. Its just can you stay focused for all those shots. If its windy, then you have to think so much more about the different shots. So I think that by late in the day well all be exhausted.
The physical aspects of it, though ' rather she is better able to handle a 36-hole day ' do not necessarily mean she is the favorite. Can Annika at 35 years of age be more physically fit than someone who is in her early 20s? She doesnt think about that ' but she DOES know that she is ready at last to win another major.
When I come out tomorrow (Sunday), Im going to feel like Im ready, she said.
I know that its not going to be something that I cant handle. I know that Im not going to have to worry about the physical part. All I have to worry about is hitting good shots, picking the right clubs and making some putts. Thats all Im going to worry about. The other part is just going to come and Ill be fine.
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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, 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.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

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 PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

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 Course 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. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

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.

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Mickelson 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.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.