Annika Ochoa Steal Show from Wie

By Sports NetworkOctober 12, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Samsung World ChampionshipPALM DESERT, Calif. -- Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam, the final pairing on Thursday, both posted rounds of 5-under-par 67 to share the first-round lead of the Samsung World Championship at Bighorn.
 
Ochoa and Sorenstam, ranked first and third respectively on the LPGA Tour's money list, are two of the leading candidates for Player of the Year. Ochoa, with four wins and Sorenstam, a three-time winner, including the U.S. Women's Open, both rank in the top 5 in the points race for that coveted title.
 
Seon-Hwa Lee, who has already clinched the LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year title, and Sophie Gustafson, the 2003 champion, are knotted in third place at 4-under-par 68.
 
Paula Creamer and Stacy Prammanasudh share fifth place at 2-under-par 70.
 
Michelle Wie, who turned 17 this week, had an interesting round on Thursday, one year after her professional debut. This time last year, Wie appeared to finish fifth, but was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard after a reporter noticed she took an improper drop on Saturday and never penalized herself.
 
On Thursday, Wie carded a tough 2-over 74 and is part of a group tied for 12th place.
 
Wie was 1 under through the turn, then ran into some trouble at the 11th. She double-bogeyed No. 11 to move to plus-1, but Wie came back with a 45-foot eagle putt from the fringe at the par-5 12th.
 
She parred 13, but once again, her driver let her down on the par-4 14th. Wie's tee ball landed against a rock and after several minutes for a ruling, Wie barely advanced her next shot. She took an unplayable lie, whiffed one and finally hit her sixth from short of the green. Wie badly missed a 12- footer for triple-bogey and converted a tricky 3-footer for quad.
 
The 17-year-old birdied 17 on the way in to salvage her round.
 
Ochoa, who last week won in her native Mexico, started nicely with two birdies in her first three holes, including a 7-footer at the third. She did not record another birdie on the front nine and made the turn at 2-under-par 34.
 
Ochoa birdied the 10th, then parred No. 11. At the 12th, Ochoa two-putted from close to 50 feet for a birdie, which got her to 4 under par and tied for the lead at the time.
 
At the par-3 13th, Ochoa hit a 5-iron to 6 feet to set up another birdie. After a long delay on the 14th tee box, Ochoa found the fairway, knocked her second to 4 feet and rolled in her third consecutive birdie putt. She was 6 under par, but that was short-lived as she bogeyed the par-5 15th.
 
She parred out to stay in a tie for the lead.
 
Sorenstam, the two-time defending champion and a five-time winner of this event, bogeyed the second, but got the stroke back with a birdie at the par-5 third.
 
The Swede broke into red figures with a 3-foot birdie putt at the seventh. At the par-3 eighth, Sorenstam drained a birdie putt from a similar length as the hole before and made the turn at minus-2.
 
Sorenstam ran home a long birdie putt at the 11th to get to 3 under par. She converted a 7-foot par save at 12 and birdied two in a row from the 14th.
 
For the first time in five years, Sorenstam is not a shoe-in to win Player of the Year honors, although a sixth title in this event would go a long way to closing the gap between herself and Ochoa.
 
The other contenders for Player of the Year are under par as well. Karrie Webb, second on the money list, and Cristie Kerr joined LPGA Champion Se Ri Pak in a tie for seventh at 1-under-par 71.
 
Women's British Open champion Sherri Steinhauer and U.S. Women's Open runner-up Pat Hurst are tied for 10th at even-par 72.
 
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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.