59 Baby

By Martha BrendleMarch 16, 2001, 5:00 pm
She began the day two strokes back and now is the one the rest of the field will be trying to catch. Annika Sorenstam made history Friday after recording 13-under-par 59 during the second round of the Standard Register PING at the par-72 Moon Valley Country Club.
Im overwhelmed, Sorenstam said as she left the 18th green. It was an incredible day. I think it will hit me a little later, obviously right now Im overwhelmed. I was shooting for 54 but obviously I did not reach that - but its a pretty good start.
Annika, paired with Meg Mallon and sister Charlotta, teed off the back nine this morning and proceeded to card no fewer than eight consecutive birdies before her first par.
Still in shock over her performance Annika had this to say about todays round: Ive never been in this position before and Ive never made so many birdies in a row. After I made six birdies in a row I was starting to shake already. Just the start I got off to was incredible. I was looking at the leaderboard, and I was looking at my score because there was a chance to break the record.
Sorenstam made the turn in position to obliterate the old record of 61, and she did just that. By the time she hit the par-4 first a veritable legion was following the threesome. Five more birdies, two pars and nine holes later Annika Sorenstam had finished the front nine in 31 strokes to become the only woman ever to card a 59 in 18 holes of professional golf.
I was very nervous because I knew what was on the line, the eight-year veteran said. I started off with eight birdies in a row and was kind of in shock after that. Then I realized I still had some holes left and I could still do something.
Very few players on any tour have ever recorded a 59 in tournament play. Those who have include PGA Tour players Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval, as well as the Buy.Com Tours Notah Begay III and Doug Dunakey.
On the LPGA Tour two players, Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, held the old record of 61, 11-under-par. Sorenstams 61 was recorded during the first round of the 1999 Sara Lee Classic while Karrie Webbs 61 occurred during the second round of the 2000 Oldsmobile classic. Both were recorded on par-72 courses.
Se Ri Pak also recorded a 61 during the second round of the 1998 Jamie Farr Rail Classic but the course was a par-72 so her overall score was 10-under-par.
Just one week ago at the Welch's/Circle K, Annika Sorenstam spoke of her desire to be the No. 1 player in the world, and today she has effectively raised the bar for her greatest rival, Webb. The message is unmistakably, Move over, Karrie.
At 20-under-par, the rest of the field now is chasing Annika, and they have a lot of shots to make up. Only a handful of players were able to crack into double-digit scores today. Those that did were Pat Hurst, who shot 8-under-par 64 to move to 11-under-par for the tournament, and Se Ri Pak, who had also reached 11-under-par during her round.
First round leader Kris Tschetter was among players who just teeing off as Annika completed her historic round.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.