Annika Seeks Three-Peat

By Lpga Tour MediaSeptember 13, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi PORTLAND, Ore. -- No one has been able to touch Annika Sorenstam at Columbia Edgewater Country Club the last two years. That's exactly where she finds herself this week as she looks to three-peat at the $1.2 million Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi.
 
The rare three-peat has happened only nine times in LPGA history, and Sorenstam is the only player to accomplish that feat twice. She won the Michelob Light Classic from 1997-99 and the Mizuno Classic from 2001-03.
 
She has won five of the 13 LPGA events she has played in this season and leads the ADT Official Money List once again.
 
Fresh off a win at last week's John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic presented by Ford, Sorenstam secured her fifth-straight five-win season, a feat that has only been accomplished twice before in LPGA history-by LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame members Mickey Wright (1960-64) and Kathy Whitworth (1965-69).
 
Against the scenic backdrop of Portland, Ore., 12 other tournament champions from 2004 will tee it up this week, so Sorenstam will have her hands full in her quest to take home yet another Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi title.
 
Included in this impressive group are three-time champions Cristie Kerr and Meg Mallon and two-time champions Lorena Ochoa and Karen Stupples. Other tournament champions teeing it up on the 6,327-yard course are Wendy Doolan, Moira Dunn, Catriona Matthew, Grace Park, Jennifer Rosales, Kim Saiki, Sherri Steinhauer and Karrie Webb.
 
In addition, seven other past Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi champions are competing in the 54-hole event: Danielle Ammaccapane (1998); Donna Andrews (1993); Michelle Estill (1991); Juli Inkster (1999); Chris Johnson (1997); Mi Hyun Kim (2000); and Betsy King (1988). Other Tour stars in the field include 2004 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year points leader Shi Hyun Ahn, second-place rookie Aree Song, LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member Beth Daniel, and Laura Davies, Natalie Gulbis and Christina Kim.
 
This will be a key week for Ahn and Song, as only three events remain that count toward the coveted Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award. Ahn has a hefty 177-point lead in the standings, so Song needs some very strong finishes in the coming weeks to have a shot at the title.
 
Last year, Daniel tied her career-low round of 62 (-10) in the first round to grab a four-stroke lead over Park, but a second-round, 1-over-par 73 left her in a three-way tie for the lead with Kerr and Sorenstam at 135 (-9). Sorenstam and Daniel battled it out on the final day, with Sorenstam carding a 6-under-par 66 and Daniel a five-under-par 67.
 
A late birdie by the Swede on the 17th hole left her a stroke ahead of Daniel at 201 (-15) and gave Sorenstam her fifth win of the season. Kerr carded a 3-under-par 69 in the final round to finish third, three strokes behind Sorenstam.
 
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  • Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

    By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

    Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

    David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

    “Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

    Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

    “I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

    Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

    The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

    Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

    Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

    1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

    2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

    While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

    Getty Images

    PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

    The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

    PGA Tour:

    The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

    LPGA:

    We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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    Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

    By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

    JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

    The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


    Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


    Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

    ''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

    Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm