Pak Out Front Annika Two Back

By Sports NetworkOctober 10, 2003, 4:00 pm
THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Se Ri Pak carded a 4-under 68 Friday to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the Samsung World Championship. Pak completed 36 holes, all on Friday, at 7-under-par 137.
 
Annika Sorenstam was the big story on Friday however, as she completed her first round at 2-under-par 70. She officially became a member of the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame at the completion of her round.
 
The Swede came back in her afternoon round to record a 3-under 69 and she shares second place with Grace Park (69), Angela Stanford (67), Beth Daniel (69) and Rachel Teske (69), a two-time winner this season, at 5-under-par 139.
 
After her morning round, Sorenstam had completed the first round of her 15th event of 2003, which was the final requirement for admittance into the Halls.
 
Sorenstam, who closed her first round with a solid par after her tee ball found water, began the afternoon session on the back nine at The Players Course at The Woodlands with four straight pars.
 
The 33-year-old then sank a two-foot birdie putt at the par-3 14th to get to 3-under. She stumbled to a three-putt bogey at the 18th, her first over the opening 27 holes.
 
'I got a little upset on 18 when I missed that short par putt, but I felt like I was hitting it pretty good,' said Sorenstam. 'I just wasn't making anything. Then suddenly, I made everything. It is a funny game.'
 
On the front side, the McDonald's LPGA Championship and Women's British Open winner caught fire. She birdie the par-5 first from five feet and came right back with a birdie at the next. Sorenstam, the defending champion, made it three straight when she sank a 26-footer for birdie at the third.
 
She briefly climbed to 6-under with a birdie on the par-4 fifth. However, she faltered to a bogey at the next before capping her round with three straight pars.
 
'It was a long, long day,' Sorenstam said. 'I am surprised we got finished. I was expecting to come back Saturday and finish three or four holes. But it is a nice surprise to finish.'
 
The LPGA requires players to accumulate 27 points for the Hall of Fame. A player receives one point for a victory, two for a major championship, one point for being player of the year and one point for winning the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average.
 
In that scoring system, Sorenstam has tallied 63 points with her 47 victories, including six major championships, five Player of the Year honors and also five scoring titles.
 
'When I came out here, I didn't even know if I could win a single tournament,' said Sorenstam. 'Here I am 47 wins later and of course I am surprised at how quickly I qualified. The competition is very tough and I think it gets tougher every year.
 
'I have pushed myself and done better every year, and been able to keep up with the competition. It is incredible the things that I've done and the things that I remember from being out there.'
 
Pak, who was paired with Sorenstam, obviously was not distracted by the fanfare surrounding her playing partner. Pak opened her second round with a short birdie on the par-4 11th. She three-putted for a bogey at the following hole to slide back to minus-3.
 
The South Korean came back to birdie the par-5 15 and closed out the opening nine with a seven-foot birdie putt on No. 17. Around the turn, Pak notched back-to-back birdies from the second that got her to 7-under.
 
Pak had a chance for a bigger lead, but she dropped a shot at the par-3 eighth after missing the green with a 5-iron. She did come back with a 10- foot birdie putt on the ninth for a two-shot leading heading to the third round.
 
'I really like where I am at right now,' said Pak, who has three wins this season. 'It was a solid day. The first round, I struggled a little bit in the fairways, but in the afternoon it was perfect. Every single shot was great and my putting was solid.'
 
Juli Inkster, who won the Evian Masters and the Corning Classic this year, stands alone in seventh place at 4-under-par 140 after a 3-under 69 in the second round.
 
Sophie Gustafson, Lorie Kane and Cristie Kerr share eighth place at 3-under-par 141 with Meg Mallon one shot further back at minus-2.
 
The entire 20-player field completed 36 holes on Friday after Thursday's first round play was washed out by heavy rain. There is no cut in the tournament so all 20 advance to the final two rounds.
 
Related Links:
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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

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    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

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    Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

    After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

    La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

    "Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."


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    Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

    The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

    "That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."