Life is Good for Sorenstam After Final Win

By Martha BrendleNovember 24, 2002, 5:00 pm
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Annika Sorenstam recorded a final round of 4-under 68, the low round of the day, to take home her 11th win of the year at the ADT Championship at Trump International Golf Club.
I gave it my all and now Im here, the 42-time LPGA Tour champion said. Im just so excited. I feel like Im walking on clouds. Life is going my way again.
She has now set or tied 20 new records this season and brings home another $215,000 in first-place prize money. She is the first woman to win 11 times on tour in one season since Mickey Wright did so in 1964.
The purses have greatly increased since Wrights day. This year alone Sorenstam walked away with $2.86 million in earnings, or 64.5% of all available first-place money in the 23 LPGA events that she entered.
This is a staggering statistic when you consider there are just over 200 active LPGA members competing against her. As an interesting comparison, if she were on the PGA Tour, her season earnings would place her eighth on the money list just behind Rich Beem.
Her four-day scores of 67-70-70-68=275 helped to set a new season scoring average of 68.70. She trimmed .72 shots off the old record, which she set last year, to become the first time tour player to record a year-end scoring average under 69.
Does she have goals laid out for next year? Not at this moment, she said. But Im sure I can come up with some.
Right now, in her own words, she is totally fried. 'I was fried after 15 holes today. And I kept telling my caddie, just give me energy. We've got to do it. Three more holes. Give it all and there will be no more holes to play all year.'
Sorenstam, who won 13 titles worldwide this season, used that goal as her mantra: 'Thirteen. Thirteen. I've got to get my 13 wins. I wasn't going to let it go. That was in my mind. I was tied for the lead or I was one behind or one up. I mean I was right there. I could almost touch the trophy. But that's what kept me going.'
For most of the day the solid play of Australias Rachel Teske made the final round of the ADT Championship a two-woman race.
Teske had no idea that she was in contention after she put the heat on Sorenstam with her eagle on the 338-yard, par-4 10th which moved her to 11-under, matching the Swedes lead.
I knew I was up there. I knew I was close. But I didnt look at the leaderboard until ' I think at No. 11, the Queenslander said.
Teske, who birdied the 16th the last three days, did so again Sunday to move to 12-under, but by that time Sorenstam had moved to 13-under. Teske lost momentum when her drive off the par-3 17th tee landed on a sharp downhill bank, right of the green.
On No. 17 I really didnt hit a good shot ' hit it skinny right. I had a pretty clean little chip and the lie was all right but... Teske said of her double bogey on 17.
Im disappointed on how I played all day. I was really up and down and really couldnt get a rhythm all day. I just didnt concentrate very well today. You can hit a bad shot technically but mentally you should always be there and I didnt do a good job at that all day.
Annikas played great to keep playing as well as she has for as long as she has. Its fantastic to learn from. Teske, who took home $115,000 for her second-place finish after recording scores of 72-66-68-72=278, said.
Sorenstam is the first player to be named Player of the Year on both the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour since Laura Davies claimed both titles in 1996. This is her fifth Rolex Player of the Year trophy. Im definitely not going to forget this year,' she said while receiving her trophy this week.
This has been a banner year for the Swede. Not only did she put to shame all the nay-sayers with a season that topped 2001, she managed to dramatically improve her putting average which was 100th in 2001.
Prior to this week, she was ranked 38th in this category. Asked whether or not she would be invincible if her putting improved the driven Swede replied, I agree.
Confidence is not one of Sorenstams weaknesses.
Defending champion Karrie Webb had a roller coaster day, finding way too much water throughout her round and dropping off the lead.
Webb made birdie on the par-4 second hole of the day only to drop back a shot on the next hole. She recovered with a birdie on the fourth, and then lost a shot on the par-3 fifth. On hole No. 6 aggressive play cost her two shots. Webb drove the ball on the dogleg right, right of the fairway and found water; double bogey moved her back to 7-under. From then on she was never really a contender again.
Patricia Meunier-Lebouc made a big check this week. The Frenchwomans strong performance netted her $57,000 for her fourth-place finish.
Rosie Jones made a late charge making the turn at 2-under par and moving to 6-under for the championship. In all, Jones recorded 15 pars, two birdies and one bogey. Jones tied with Meg Mallon for fifth, and took home $46,000.
Beth Bauer, 2002 LPGA Rookie of the Year, was as gracious as any seasoned pro during the awards ceremony. Its such a good experience for me to be playing out here and have all my dreams came true this year, Bauer, the only rookie to qualify for the event, said. She finished the four-day tournament tied with Kelly Robbins at even-par 288, winning $20,250 in prize money.
Full-field scores from the ADT Championship

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''