Sorenstam Defends Title Wins No 50

By Sports NetworkApril 4, 2004, 4:00 pm
TARZANA, Cal.. -- Annika Sorenstam birdied three of her final five holes Sunday to post a 3-under-par 69 to win the Office Depot Championship. Sorenstam finished the event at 9-under-par 207 for her 50th win on the LPGA Tour.
 
'It's always great to come back to a tournament where I've done well in the past,' said Sorenstam, who picked up $262,500 for her third win here. 'I'm very excited right now and very happy to finish the way I did.'
 
Sorenstam became the third youngest player to reach the 50-win mark on the LPGA Tour. She also defended a title for the 11th time on the LPGA Tour.
 
'Fifty is kind of a magical number,' Sorenstam said. 'I've thought about this for a little while. This is why I practice and why I'm here. I love to win.'
 
Ashli Bunch fired a course-record 7-under 65 in the final round to finish at 6-under-par 210. She was tied there by Meg Mallon, who closed with a 70. Bunch was later joined as course record holder by Isabelle Beisiegel, who also closed with a 65 to end at even-par 216.
 
Sorenstam, who also won here in 2001 and 2003, opened with four straight pars at El Caballero Country Club. She then dropped in a birdie putt at the par-4 fifth to move to 7 under.
 
The Swede stumbled to a bogey at the very next hole, however. She then ran off seven consecutive pars around the turn, while her opponents were making a charge.
 
Bunch, playing six groups ahead of the leader, ran off three straight birdies from the 10th to get to minus-4 and within two strokes of Sorenstam, the closest anyone was since Rosie Jones and Mallon started at minus-4.
 
Bunch settled down to par four consecutive holes. She then knocked a fairway wood within three feet to setup eagle at the par-5 17th and tie Sorenstam in the lead at 6 under. However, she missed a short birdie try at the last.
 
'When I was playing the 12th hole, I looked over and saw that Ashli hit it to one foot or so for eagle at the 17th,' said Sorenstam. 'That's when I started to feel the pressure and I just told myself to hang in there and be patient.'
 
Sorenstam knowing she had been tied for the lead turned it on. The top player in the women's game dropped her second shot to the par-4 14th within eight feet. She calmly rolled in the putt to regain the lead.
 
After a two-putt par at No. 15, Sorenstam rolled home an 8-foot birdie at the very next hole to open up a two-shot lead.
 
Sorenstam was not finished either. She two-putted for birdie at the par-5 17th, before a casual two-putt par at the last gave her the seventh wire-to-wire victory of her career. She now has won four different tournaments three times.
 
'I still have a hard time believing it's 50 wins,' said Sorenstam, who also won the Samsung World Championship, Mizuno Classic and Michelob Light Classic three times. 'Like I said, it's a magical number. I guess I try not to think too much about it because it gets me a little sentimental. But I thought I worked really hard this week, and it feels really, really good to win here.'
 
Bunch, who picked up two birdies on the front nine, used her back nine run to secure her best ever finish on the LPGA Tour. She could have pushed Sorenstam further but missed short birdie tries at Nos. 14 and 15. Bunch's best previous finish was a tie for fourth at the 1999 Welch's/Circle K Championship.
 
'To be honest, I didn't tee it up thinking I could win the tournament,' said Bunch. 'I knew I could pass a lot of people, but my husband Michael (who is also her caddie) said last night that Annika is going to be tough to beat.'
 
Mallon had a rough start with a double bogey at the second and back-to-back bogeys from the third. She rebounded with birdies at the seventh and eighth. She then birdied the 11th, but dropped a shot at the 12th.
 
Mallon closed out in excellent fashion as she birdied four of the final five holes to climb back to minus-6 and a share of second place.
 
Lorie Kane also broke the previous course record as she posted a 5-under 67 to share fourth place at 4-under-par 212. She was joined there by Mi Hyun Kim, who posted a 69.
 
Tina Barrett and Catriona Matthew shared sixth place at 2-under-par 214, with Michelle Ellis, Lorena Ochoa and Michele Redman finishing one stroke further back at minus-1.
 
Beisiegel was joined at even par by Hall of Famer Betsy King, who closed with a 1-over 73.
 
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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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.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    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."


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    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."