Sorenstam Does the Unthinkable - Again

By Martha BrendleNovember 18, 2002, 5:00 pm
Annika Sorenstam, standing at a mere 5-foot-6 inches tall, is one of the most dominant figures in modern day golf and has once again set the world of golf abuzz.
Many said her 2001 season could not be topped - eight tournament wins, setting or tying 30 LPGA scoring and money records, as well as her historic round of 59 at the Standard Register PING.
This didnt seem to worry young Annika much. For her encore performance the super-fit Swede made 2002 her eighth multiple-win season in a row by collecting 12 worldwide victories ' 10 of which were on the LPGA Tour where she tied or broke five of 10 tournament records along the way.
During her nine years as an LPGA member, Sorenstam has amassed 41 LPGA Tour titles - 18 of which were recorded in the last two seasons - and is tied with Babe Zaharias at ninth in all-time wins. In addition, Sorenstam has won the most tournaments by any international player in LPGA history.
Sorenstam became the first player in 34 years to win 10 times since Kathy Whitworth and Carol Mann did so in 1968. Betsy Rawls recorded 10 wins in a season in 1959. Mickey Wright also recorded 10 wins in 1961 and 1962 and went on to record 11 wins 1964 and 13 in 1963 for a total of 44 wins in four years.
Whitworth holds the record for most wins in a season with 13 in 1963, but percentage-wise, Sorenstam has surpassed her. In 1963 Whitworth entered 22 LPGA events and won 40.6% of them. This year Sorenstam had 24 global starts with 12 wins for a winning average of 50 percent, or 22 LPGA starts and 10 victories for a winning average of 45.45 percent.
The numbers clearly speak for themselves with Annika. She has earned $2,648,904 this season and is well on her way to crossing the $11 million mark in career earnings. Only two players ' Karrie Webb and Betsy King ' are even close to that figure and both currently lag behind by almost $4 million.

After recording an all-time LPGA record scoring average of 69.42 in 2001, she lowered her scoring average this year by almost a full stroke, leaving her with an excellent chance of becoming the first player ever to finish the year with a scoring average below 69.
In addition, with one event left this season, Sorenstam has a very real chance of setting an all-time scoring average on the LPGA Tour while collecting her fifth Vare trophy for lowest scoring average and fifth money-leader title.
Im a little in shock I think, Sorenstam said after her 10th victory. I set high goals for myself, but sometimes you wonder if you can achieve them.

Throughout her career shes struggled with putting and the majors. These are still two areas which Sorenstam has room for improvement.
During the nine full seasons she has played on the LPGA Tour, she has missed eight cuts - four during her rookie year. The other four were all in the last eight years and all were at majors. In 1997 she missed the cut at the U.S. Womens Open. That same year she also missed the cut at the du Maurier Classic. In 1999 she missed the cut at the U.S. Womens Open again. And this year she missed the cut at the British Womens Open.
As for putting, although she has improved dramatically from years past, her putting is still quite erratic. Sorenstams strength is in her ball-striking. She is both long and accurate. She currently holds the No. 1 position in top-10 finishes, rounds under par, scoring average and greens in regulation.
In 1999 Sorenstams driving average was 245.9. This year her driving average is 269.3. During the Samsung World Championship she averaged 284 for the week, saying she gained 20 yards with her new driver, a Great Big Bertha Two with a Fujikura 6 shaft, which she started using at the Williams Championship in September.
It was at this tournament, after a month off, that Sorenstam returned to play with both a new driver in her bag and a new putting grip. She had gone from a conventional grip to a cross-handed grip. And it apparently worked for her. She won the Williams and went on to win the next two tournaments as well.
As the year comes to a close and Sorenstam makes room in her trophy case, the 32-year-old has a lot to reflect upon. Ten LPGA victories, eight won with all four rounds in the 60s, 41 LPGA Tour victories and her current scoring average of 68.69 - almost a full shot lower than last year - and more than a full stroke better than Se Ri Pak, who is in second place with a scoring average of 69.78.
Karrie Webb, defending champion at the ADT Championship, said it best: I always thought of myself as fairly ambitious, but I dont think Ive ever met anyone as ambitious as she is
The 32-year-old from Stockholm, Sweden, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame upon the conclusion of the 2003 season. She qualified at the Welchs Circle K in March of 2000 after defeating Pat Hurst in a two-hole playoff. It was her first win of the season that year and it was a memorable one.
Getty Images

Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

Getty Images

Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

Getty Images

Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

Getty Images

Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.