Rewriting History Annika Going for Six-Peat

By Lpga Tour MediaOctober 31, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 Mizuno ClassicIs six-peat even a word? What about consixutive? With apologies to grammar professors everywhere, both terms may be in our vocabularies by the end of the week as Annika Sorenstam, who is used to rewriting record books and history, goes for her sixth consectutive win at the $1.2 million Mizuno Classic.
 
The No. 1 player in the Rolex Rankings is the five-time defending champion of the event and has turned the Mizuno Classic into the Annika Classic. The 36-year-old has 69 career LPGA wins, but this is the event that she has dominated the most. In the past five years, she has displayed a mastery over her competition that is unparalleled in LPGA history.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam is going for her sixth consecutive Mizuno Classic title.
Each of her five wins was by at least two strokes and twice she won by nine strokes. In addition, only one of her last 15 rounds at the Mizuno Classic has been in the 70s and that was all the way back in 2001. Her scoring average during the winning-streak is a jaw-dropping 65.67. In the past five years, she has won $801,000 at the Mizuno Classic.
 
Sorenstam also has a motivating factor working for her this week and that is her opportunity to record more LPGA history. No other player has won the same LPGA event six times, which is what is presented to Sorenstam this week. This is the second time in a month that Sorenstam has been presented with the rare opportunity to win the same event six times. She held a three-shot final-round lead over Lorena Ochoa at the Samsung World Championship, but was unable to seal the deal and watched Ochoa shoot 7-under-par 65 and deny her another LPGA record.
 
With history and motivation on her side, it seems likes Sorenstam has a record six-peat hanging on the lip of the cup about to fall, but there is a catch. All of those past Mizuno Classic heroics by Sorenstam came at Seta Golf Club (2002-05) and at Musashigaoka Country Club (2001), while this year's competition is being held at Kashikojima Country Club for the first time.
 
The new venue could be the great equalizer between Sorenstam and the other 77 players competing this week.
 
Two of those players have been Sorenstam's main adversaries over the years. Karrie Webb and Se Ri Pak each beat Sorenstam to a major championship this year and are looking to end the year on a high note.
 
Webb, who is the last player not named Sorenstam to win the Rolex Player of the Year award (2001), is turning in her best season since she won seven events in 2000. Webb has four wins this year'including the Kraft Nabisco Championship'and has been one of the most consistent players on Tour, as her wins came in April, May, July and September. Webb has an additional seven top-10s this year and is third on the ADT Official Money List behind Sorenstam and money-leader Ochoa, who is not playing this week.
 
Pak won the McDonald's LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola in a playoff against Webb to bounce back from her worst year on Tour. In 2005, Pak suffered from lingering injuries to her neck, shoulder, lower back and finger and earned only $62,628 in 12 events. This year, in addition to her one win, she has compiled six more top-10 finishes and has earned $862,479.
 
Another player to keep an eye on this week is Japanese superstar and LPGA rookie Ai Miyazato. Miyazato played in 19 LPGA events this year and notched a season-best tie for third at the McDonald's LPGA Championship. She finished fourth in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race, but headed back to Japan after a fourth-place finish at the Wendy's Championship for Children and regained her winning touch. Miyazato, who won 11 events on the Japan LPGA (JLPGA) the last two years, has won two of the five JLPGA events she has competed in this year and is ready for that breakout LPGA win this week.
 
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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.