Miyazato Leads Annika by One at ShopRite

By Sports NetworkJune 3, 2006, 4:00 pm
GALLOWAY TWP., N.J. -- Young Japanese star Ai Miyazato moved into position for her first LPGA Tour title, shooting a 5-under 66 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Annika Sorenstam in the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Shrugging off gusting wind, heavy rain and a weather delay, the 20-year-old Miyazato rebounded from an early bogey with six birdies to finish the second round at 10-under 132. Sorenstam followed her opening 64 with a 69.
Annika Sorenstam is looking for just her second win of the season.
Sherri Steinhauer (66), Laura Diaz (69) and Seon-Hwa Lee (69) were 8 under, and 18-year-old Morgan Pressel (69), Catriona Matthew (69), Amy Hung (70) and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc (68) were another stroke back.
Miyazato, who grew up idolizing Sorenstam, played an awful lot like her on the rain-soaked Seaview Resort & Spa course. After missing a 10-foot putt for par at No. 2, she was error-free the rest of the way.
She birdied the next two holes and then connected on a 20-foot putt to pick up another stroke on the 182-yard, par-3 seventh hole.
She birdied Nos. 12 and 16 and was about to finish her round when a rain delay was called -- with her ball sitting a foot from the cup at No. 18.
Fifty-two minutes and one hamburger later, she made the birdie putt.
'She's incredible,' Diaz said.
Miyazato started the round determined not to let recent history repeat itself.
'Yesterday, I lost some shots on the last three holes,' she said through a translator. 'So today I just tried to make sure I stay concentrated and not do the same thing.'
She said she'll be nervous teeing it up Sunday with the LPGA Tour's marquee player.
'She is my idol. She has been my idol and she is a player that I admired and someone I look up to all the time,' said Miyazato, whose best previous finish on tour was a tie for fifth.
Miyazato, who won six tournaments in Japan last year, won the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament by 12 strokes last November to earn her exempt card for the 2006 season. She played in six tour events last year, her best finish a tie for ninth in the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship.
Sorenstam, who started the day tied for the lead with Michele Redman, struggled with her putter early on, missing several birdie opportunities and carding three bogeys in her first eight holes.
But just as she did Friday, she rallied midway through her round, making shots that were vintage Sorenstam. She made a 4-footer for birdie on the ninth, then dropped a blind approach shot 3 feet from the cup and made the putt at No. 10.
On the 11th, she holed a 29-foot chip shot from the front fringe for another birdie, taking back a share of the lead at 9 under. But she shot par the rest of the way to set the scene for a potential repeat of the 2005 Classic victory.
She has won this event three times.
'I'm in position to do some good things tomorrow and I'm obviously ready for that,' Sorenstam said. 'I've been waiting for it. It's been kind of a dry two months for me.'
Sorenstam, who has 67 career LPGA Tour wins, has won only once on tour this year. She is winless in her last six outings and seventh on the money list.
Weather could play a big role in the final round, she said.
'If it's windy, it makes this golf course a totally different golf course,' she said. 'The greens are going to be softer. We can be a little more aggressive with our approach shots.'
Steinhauer surged into contention with her 66, tying her with Diaz, who also managed a solid round of 69 despite suffering from a cold caught while tending to her 4 1/2 -month-old son.
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.