Sorenstam Even Two Back as Play Called

By Sports NetworkJune 23, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Annika Sorenstam is certainly in the mix as she tries to secure the third leg of the single season Grand Slam.
 
She opened with an even-par 71 Thursday at the U.S. Women's Open, trailing Angela Stanford, amateur Brittany Lang and Karine Icher by two at Cherry Hills Country Club.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam reacts to one of her three birdies in the first round.
Stanford, a runner-up in 2003, and Lang completed their first rounds, while Icher is through 14 holes.
 
Inclement weather played havoc with the opening round. There was a 90-minute weather delay in the first round, then another stoppage late on Thursday. A few minutes after that delay, officials suspended the round.
 
Sixty players did not complete their opening rounds and will return to Cherry Hills at 9:30 a.m. (ET) Friday morning to finish. The second round will begin as scheduled at 9:00 a.m.
 
Nicole Perrot, Young-A Yang, Natalie Gulbis and 1988 winner Liselotte Neumann share fourth place at 1-under-par 70.
 
Michelle Wie, the amateur star who finished second to Sorenstam at the LPGA Championship, is also 1 under par through 15 holes.
 
Wie's accomplishment not withstanding, the story this week is Sorenstam. She won the Nabisco Championship and LPGA Championship to grab the first two legs of the Grand Slam.
 
Sorenstam began on the 10th hole Thursday and missed the fairway with her drive. She made bogey, then hit another errant tee shot at No. 11. The Swede saved par on her second hole, but admitted that nerves were the biggest factor.
 
'U.S. Open, a lot of people, tough golf course, a lot on my mind. There's a lot of things,' said Sorenstam, referring to what caused her nervousness on Thursday.
 
The top player in the game calmed down throughout her front nine. She hit a 7-iron to 5 feet to set up birdie at the 16th. Sorenstam came up short of the green with her second at the par-4 18th and wedged her third to 12 feet. She two-putted for another bogey, making the turn at 1-over 37.
 
Sorenstam recovered with a birdie at the first. She added another birdie at the seventh when she rolled in a 7-footer, but hit a 5-iron over the green at nine and made bogey.
 
Despite the inconsistency of her round, Sorenstam is still within striking distance. The two-time former champion of this event also knows par is a good score for a U.S. Women's Open.
 
'I think if somebody would have told me on the first tee, we'll give you level par, I think I would have taken it,' said Sorenstam. 'Having said that, it's a good start. It's a marathon.'
 
Sorenstam was joined in a tie for ninth place with defending champion Meg Mallon, Sophie Gustafson and amateur Morgan Pressel, who had the lead by herself, but dropped three strokes in her last two holes.
 
Maria Hjorth is even with two holes to play.
 
Stanford, who lost in a playoff to Hilary Lunke two years ago, hit a sandwedge to 12 feet to set up a birdie at the first. She made an unlikely birdie at four when her drive came to rest in the first cut. Stanford ran a 4-iron 30 feet from the hole and converted the putt.
 
She used a 5-iron off the tee at the par-5 fifth, but played a wedge to 5 feet with her third. Stanford drained that birdie putt, but bogeyed Nos. 6, 8 and 9 to fall back to even for the championship.
 
At the par-3 15th, Stanford hit a 5-iron to 10 feet. She ran in the birdie putt, sank a 20-footer for birdie at 17 and holed a clutch 7-foot par save at 18 to share the first-round lead of the U.S. Women's Open.
 
Stanford used some clutch putting two years ago at Pumpkin Ridge when she and Kelly Robbins lost an 18-hole playoff to Hilary Lunke. The 27-year-old did notice some similarities.
 
'Similar in that I feel like I am really in the moment,' said Stanford. 'I think in 2003, each shot I hit I was really in the moment. I felt like that today. So that was a good feeling.'
 
Lang, who will turn professional at the end of the summer, collected three birdies in her first seven holes. She drove into the rough at nine and never recovered, leaving with a bogey.
 
The back nine featured more of the inconsistent play. She drained a 5-foot birdie putt at the 10th, but gave the shot back at 12 when she three-putted from 20 feet.
 
Lang hit an 8-iron to 12 feet to set up birdie at the 14th and go ahead by one. She then fell back into a tie at 18 when she hit a poor drive and an even poorer second shot.
 
Still, the Duke University star, shares the lead.
 
'I am just going to play golf like I have been playing,' said Lang. 'I am sure I will be nervous, but it will be a lot of fun just getting the crowds on my side.'
 
Icher began on the back nine and tallied three birdies and one bogey over her first nine holes. She traded a birdie and a bogey at one and two, and parred her last three holes before the horn sounded.
 
'It's my best beginning on the major, so I hope to keep my play and my game for tomorrow morning,' said Icher, a Frenchwoman who lives in Switzerland. 'I have tried to hit the middle of the fairway, hit the green, try to keep a good rhythm on the greens and that's it.'
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Women's Open
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry