Sorenstam Standing on Top

By George WhiteJune 6, 2003, 4:00 pm
WILMINGTON, Del. -- She let us in on the bombshell that was coming when Annika Sorenstam warned Thursday, I really felt good today. I felt like I hit it really well. The putts just didnt drop, but I hit it solidly all day long.
 
That was Sorenstam after she opened the McDonalds LPGA Championship with a 70. But on Friday, there wasnt any question. She gored the DuPont Country Club course and the field with a score of 64, rushing to the top of the leaderboard with nine birdies and two bogeys. The score of 64 is one off the womens major championship record, held by four players.
 
It was totally a quality round, she said. I mean, the only bad shot I hit was the tee shot on 18 (leading to a bogey).
 
But it was flawless, I thought. I could have rolled in a putt here or there, but I hit a lot of good putts as well that didnt go in. So I rank it (the round) up there. I cant exactly put a number on it, but its definitely a top-10 performance for me at a major.
 
Sorenstam is two shots ahead of the field after the red-hot day. First-round leader Hee-Wan Han is in second place with a 6-under score of 136. Wendy Ward is third at 5-under 137. Sorenstam is 13 shots better than she was last year when she eventually finished third.
 
She started quickly, making birdies on three holes in a row starting at No. 2. That got her to 4-under for the tournament, but she dropped back when she bogeyed the fifth.
 
But she birdied three in a row again, starting at No. 9. And then she added birdies once again in a threesome, scoring them at 15, 16 and 17 before hitting the bad drive and making bogey on the last.
 
And it all goes back to the round on Thursday.
 
I felt like I played a lot of good, solid tee shots (Thursday), Sorenstam said. I think I missed one fairway yesterday, and I kept hitting good tee shots today ' a lot of good approach shots. My distance control has been very good this week, and I felt if I could just get going, roll in a few putts, then you get a momentum, a feel for the greens, especially the speed ' which I think was my problem yesterday.
 
Actually, this all started before this week, back three weeks ago when she played the men of the PGA Tour at Colonial. She played that week under intense scrutiny and pressure, then came to the LPGA and won last week at the Keebler Classic.
 
I think I am hitting the ball as well as I have all year the last three weeks, she said. I believe Colonial, being in the past now, that I am kind of relieved, in a way, and I am playing better golf.
 
I noticed that last week, and I feel the same this week. You know, last year I had some good moments. I played some good golf throughout the season, but I think right now I am striking the ball as good as I (ever) have.
 
The fact that this is one of four LPGA majors makes it doubly sweet to be in the lead. Sorenstam has won two Nabiscos and two U.S. Opens, but the other two have escaped her. This would be major No. 5, and scratch off another tournament.
 
The majors have been my priority all year ' actually, the last two years have been my priority, she said. And I believe I can play this golf course, I showed it last year on Sunday (when she shot a 65), and I think that today I showed it for myself, that I can play here.
 
So, yeah, this tournament means a lot. Its a major, its one that I havent won. I have been close, but the goal is to put in four good rounds. So far, so good.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the McDonald's LPGA Championship
  • Full coverage of the McDonald's LPGA Championship
  • Getty Images

    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

    Getty Images

    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

    Getty Images

    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

    Getty Images

    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.