Annika Outright Leader in California

By Sports NetworkOctober 14, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Samsung World ChampionshipPALM DESERT, Calif. -- Annika Sorenstam posted the lowest round of the tournament on Saturday with a 6-under 66. That was good enough to vault the two-time defending champion into sole possession of the lead at 12-under- par 204 through three rounds of the Samsung World Championship at Bighorn.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam is in search of her sixth Samsung World Championship title.
Lorena Ochoa, who leads Sorenstam on the LPGA Tour money and the points race for Player of the Year, played beautifully down the stretch en route to a 5-under 67. She is alone in second place at minus-nine.
 
Sophie Gustafson, who shared the second-round lead with Sorenstam and Paula Creamer, managed a 2-under 70 and is alone in third place at 8-under-par 208.
 
Stacy Prammanasudh posted a 5-under 67 on Saturday to move into fourth place at minus-seven.
 
Michelle Wie, who was disqualified after last year's final round in her professional debut, birdied her closing hole for an even-par 72. She is tied for 13th place at plus-2.
 
The Swede flew out of the gate on Saturday with a pair of birdies at two and three, a feat she has accomplished in each of the first two rounds. She parred four and five, but assumed the top spot on the leaderboard thanks to back-to-back birdies at six and seven.
 
Sorenstam bogeyed the ninth hole, which was an improvement from Friday's second round when she double bogeyed the par-4 hole. She recovered the lost stroke at 10 and was one ahead of the field.
 
At the par-5 12th, Sorenstam seemed poised to cash in from 6 feet, but missed the putt left. Gustafson sank a 35-foot eagle putt at the 12th to get one behind, but Sorenstam drained a 40-foot birdie putt at 13 to move to 11 under par, two clear of Gustafson.
 
Sorenstam was strong with the irons at 14 and 15, but missed birdie putts inside 10 feet at both holes. Gustafson took a big gamble going for the green in two at 15 and her second landed in the water. She made bogey and Sorenstam was three in front.
 
Then Ochoa, a four-time winner this season, made her move up the leaderboard. She tallied three birdies on her front nine, but parred eight consecutive holes around the turn.
 
Ochoa, who won last week in her native Mexico, birdied the par-5 15th to get to three back. She sank a long birdie putt at the 18th to close the gap to two, but unfortunately for Ochoa, Sorenstam was still on the course.
 
At the par-4 closing hole, Sorenstam knocked her approach 12 feet over the flag. The Swede ran home the birdie putt to extend her margin to three over Ochoa.
 
'I was a lot more settled today. I felt a lot more comfortable,' said Sorenstam. 'I was figuring out a few key thoughts to have today and it seemed they worked.'
 
Sorenstam can reach a few milestones if she is to hang on Sunday afternoon.
 
A win would be her 70th on the LPGA Tour and put her 18 behind the all-time record. If she visits the winner's circle, Sorenstam will become the first player in tour history to win the same event six times. Sorenstam has another chance at win No. 6 in an event when she goes to the Mizuno Classic next month, an event she won five times in a row, which is already an LPGA Tour record for most consecutive wins in the same event.
 
If she is to win another money title of Player of the Year honor, she will have to stare down her playing partner in Sunday's final round.
 
'I'm looking forward to the day,' said Sorenstam. 'I've always enjoyed Lorena. She's having a super year. I think it's going to be exciting tomorrow and I'm in good position.'
 
For Ochoa, she may need to finally topple Sorenstam in the final round to eliminate any doubts. In Ochoa's four wins on tour this season, Sorenstam was in the field for only one.
 
'I like to be paired with her in the last group,' said Ochoa. 'I'm going to come tomorrow, be aggressive, be very positive. I know I can do this. I'm going to give her a hard time.'
 
Creamer only shot an even-par 72 and is tied for fifth place with Cristie Kerr (68) and reigning Women's British Open champion Sherri Steinhauer (71). The trio is knotted at 6-under-par 210.
 
Seon-Hwa Lee, who has already clinched Rookie of the Year honors, and Pat Hurst both shot rounds of 1-under 71 and are tied for eighth place at minus- 3.
 
Nabisco Champion Karrie Webb struggled to a 3-over 75 and is alone in 10th at 1-under-par 215.
 
Related Links:
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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.