Birdie Barrage Keeps Annika Ahead

By Sports NetworkMay 31, 2003, 4:00 pm
AURORA, Ill. -- Annika Sorenstam shot a 6-under 66 Saturday to take the outright lead after the second round of the Kellogg-Keebler Classic. Sorenstam moved to 16-under-par 128 for the tournament, two shots clear of Mhairi McKay.
'I'm very pleased with the way I played today,' said Sorenstam. 'Tomorrow I've just got to play solid golf. I'm going to continue to shoot in the 60s and see how low we can go.'
Rosie Jones, who shared the lead with Sorenstam after round one, carded a 1- under 71 to finish alone in third at 11-under-par 133. Juli Inkster was two shots further back at 9-under-par 135.
Sorenstam has proved that she is ready to win in her first LPGA start since her historic appearance at the PGA Tour's Colonial. The Swede, who won this event last year in record-setting fashion, hit her tee shot to four feet at the par-3 third for her first birdie of the day.
She followed that up with a birdie at the very next hole and coasted at even-par until a birdie at the par-4 11th. Sorenstam found trouble soon after with a pair of bogeys starting at the par-3 12th but countered with a remarkable stretch to close her round and secure the 36-hole lead.
'I told my caddie, 'I've had enough. I'm playing great, I've had a lot of great shots. Let's get this turned around. There's five more holes, let's just go get five birdies,'' said Sorenstam. 'And that's what happened.'
Sorenstam picked up the first of five consecutive birdies at the par-5 14th. She closed her round in style, and in a good position to take home her 44th career victory on the LPGA Tour.
McKay shot a brilliant round of 64 to move into second place. She started with a birdie at the second and ran home a long birdie putt at the very next hole. She made it three in a row with a birdie at the fourth and added a birdie at the eighth to reach 10-under.
The 28-year-old caught fire on the back nine with five birdies to pull within two of Sorenstam.
Despite a bogey at the par-5 first, Jones contended for the lead throughout the round. However, she could not match Sorenstam's torrid finish and stands five shots off the lead.
'I got away with something today,' said Jones. 'I didn't hit the ball well at all. I feel like I could have shot 3- or 4-under. I just didn't do it.'
Becky Morgan shot a 3-under 69 to finish alongside Angela Stanford at 8-under-par 136. The duo was followed by Mi Hyun Kim at 7-under-par 137.
Tracy Hanson, Catriona Matthew, Christina Kim and Heather Bowie finished tied for eighth at 6-under-par 138.
The 36-hole cut fell at 3-over-par 147. Among those who failed to qualify for the weekend were Grace Park and Betsy King.
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.