Gustafson Tops Sorenstam in Stockholm

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 10, 2003, 4:00 pm
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Sophie Gustafson tapped in a routine par putt on the third playoff hole to beat Suzann Pettersen and win the HP Open for the first time Sunday.
Defending champion Annika Sorenstam, who clinched a career Grand Slam by winning the British Open a week ago, had two eagles but finished two strokes back in her first hometown tournament since 1999.
The 18th hole, surrounded by a huge gallery that included many of the record 21,500 fans who saw the final round, was used each time for the playoff.
Gustafson and Pettersen, both LPGA Tour regulars, parred the hole the first two times. Then, the Norwegian opened the door for the Swede, blowing a short par putt. Gustafson made no mistake.
'To beat Annika before such big crowds in Sweden is big,' Gustafson said. 'This is one of my biggest. It's hard to compare with my LPGA wins, but this is as big as winning the (2000) British Open.'
Gustafson could have won it on the 72nd hole, but missed a short putt.
'I was disturbed by a photographer,' she said. 'My caddie tried to calm me down, but I didn't get over it until the third playoff hole.'
The victory was especially sweet for the big-hitting Gustafson, who finished second, third and second the last three times in Sweden when the tournament was called the Compaq Open.
Pettersen improved the course record, set Saturday by Gustafson, by one stroke with a 10-under-par 62 to set up the playoff. Gustafson shot 68. Both finished regulation at 269, 19 under par on the Drottningholm course near the Royal castle.
Sorenstam finished alone in third place at 271 after a 68. She tied her finish in her first Ladies European Tour event outside Stockholm in 1992. Since then, she has won four LET events in Sweden.
Sorenstam showed why she's the world's top-ranked female golfer, finishing eagle-eagle on the front nine. But she was still two shots behind Gustafson, who made four birdies on the first nine holes.
'Of course I'm a little bit disappointed that I didn't win today, but I think I played well,' Sorenstam said. 'You just have to congratulate Sophie and Suzann, who played incredible golf today and all week long. You can't do more if you do your best.'
Sorenstam lost another shot to Gustafson on the 11th, where she made a bogey after a rare miss with her driver.
'If you play more aggressively, you take more chances. I had to take chances, especially on the last nine,' she said.
For Gustafson, it was the 15th victory in 223 tournaments since turning pro in 1992. The 29-year-old has three wins on the LPGA Tour. In 21 events this year, she made the cut 16 times and won once at the Irish Open in June.
Laura Davies of England shared fourth at 276 with Becky Morgan of Wales. Both shot 70s.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.