Sorenstam to Play at Colonial

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 12, 2003, 5:00 pm
Annika Sorenstam will play in the Bank of America Colonial May 22-25, fthe first woman to play in a mens tournament since Babe Zaharias competed in the Los Angeles Open in 1945.
 
Sorenstam's husband, David Esch, confirmed his wife's decision early Wednesday morning. Esch said the details were worked out over the phone late Tuesday night.
 
Last week there was speculation that the club's members didn't want to be the first men's tournament for Sorenstam. But that position shifted abruptly over the weekend when it became apparent that the tournament's new title sponsor, The Bank of America, wanted Sorenstam to play in the tournament.
 
The official press release came out late Wednesday morning. 'Our tournament has historically recognized and supported exceptional players who otherwise would not qualify for our invitational event,' remarked tournament chairman Dee Finley. Annikas accomplishments show that she is certainly deserving. The Colonial Country Club and our board of governors are excited that Annika has accepted our invitation to play.
 
Sorenstam said, 'All the attention and speculation are flattering, and I appreciate that the Bank of America Colonial golf tournament is giving me this opportunity to compete in a PGA Tour event. There were many invitations, but the golf course and schedule of the Colonial were ideal. For all the well-wishers who want to know why I would accept such a challenge, the answer is simple: I am curious to see if I can compete in a PGA Tour event.
 
Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, is listed at 7,080 yards and is
believed to be one of the tour's best suited courses to Sorenstam's game
which is predicated on precision. The course is tree-lined, tight and usually
runs hard and fast.
 
Corpening pointed out that part of the club's initial reluctance to have
Sorenstam play there was what he called the 'spectacle' that arose at
Colonial in 1997. That year their tournament was the first time Tiger Woods
and Fuzzy Zoeller got together after Zoeller's widely circulated off-color
remarks about Woods earlier in the season following Woods' first Masters
victory.
 
Phil Mickelson, for one, welcomes Sorenstam to the competition.
 
'Most of the guys hit 2-iron or 3-wood off those tees and Annika will hit driver,' she said. 'So they are about the same. I don't think their is much of a disadvantage at all. And the fairways are always fast, so it's not like you have to fly it a long way.
 
'I think it's a perfect venue for her.'
 
Sorenstam won 13 times worldwide in 2002 and is clearly the best woman golfer
in the world at the moment.
 
LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw was supportive of Sorenstam's decision.
 
As I have always said, Annika is one of the greatest players the game of golf has ever seen,' said Votaw, 'She has given fans around the world reason to stand up and take notice, as she has shattered record after record and collected more trophies in the past 10 years than anyone ever imagined possible. It is wonderful that the Bank of America Colonial wants to also showcase Annikas immense talent'to share with fans, sponsors and players alike how very special her game and drive to succeed are. We completely support Annikas decision to accept an invitation to compete at the Bank of America Colonial.
 
Regardless of what may be written in the weeks and months to come, this is Annika vs. Annika. Its about Annika challenging herself and breaking down barriers'never stopping in her quest to improve and test her abilities. This sends an empowering and inspiring message to young women and girls everywhere, to set new goals, to have no boundaries or limitations and to be the very best they can be.
 
This same week on the LPGA Tour, the LPGA Corning Classic will celebrate its 25th anniversary. For the past 25 years, it has been a favorite stop on the tour because of its fabulous fans, fantastic community support and a dedicated corporate sponsor in Corning Inc. Certainly fans of the LPGA Corning Classic will miss seeing Annika compete, but they will enjoy a strong field of the very best women golf professionals in the world. I am confident, however, that Annika will make it a priority to participate in the LPGA Corning Classic in 2004, her first full season as an LPGA Tour Hall of Fame member, or in future years.
 
This will be an historic event in golf. No woman has played in a regular
men's PGA Tour event since Zaharias in 1945. Zaharias competed twice in LA, missing the cut the first time before making the first cut in 45. She consequently missed the 54-hole cut. The PGA Tour does not have 54-hole cuts any longer.
 
The Colonial is played at the same time as the Corning Classic on the LPGA Tour. However, Sorenstam has not played there for several years.
 
Kraig Kann and Brian Hewitt contributed to this report
 
Discussion Boards: Annika on the PGA Tour

Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.


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Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

Joel Dahmen had a 64.


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''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

“At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told GolfChannel.com. “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.


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With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

“I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

“As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.

Seeking awards sweep, Park 1 off lead

By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:03 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made a strong start in her bid to make LPGA history with an epic sweep of the year’s major awards.

Park opened the CME Group Tour Championship Thursday with a 5-under-par 67, moving her a shot off the lead.

Park is looking to join Nancy Lopez as the only players to win the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park has already clinched the Rookie of the Year Award.

Park, 24, can also walk away with the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.


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Nobody has ever swept all those awards.

There’s even more for Park to claim. She can also take back the Rolex world No. 1 ranking. She’s No. 2, just two hundredths of a point behind Shanshan Feng.

“I think the course suits my game really well,” Park said through a translator. “I think I can play well in the next rounds.”

Park played the course just once before Thursday’s start, in Wednesday’s pro-am.

The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, Park won twice this year. She also won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this summer.