Sorenstam Hangs On for First Win

By Sports NetworkApril 6, 2003, 4:00 pm
LOS ANGELES -- Annika Sorenstam struggled early in the final round of the Office Depot Championship on Sunday, but she closed with back-to-back birdies to win by four strokes. Sorenstam shot a final-round 1-under 71 to finish the tournament at 5-under-par 211.
'Right now I'm just totally relieved,' said Sorenstam. 'I fought so hard today and over the last three days. You know my game hasn't been on top, but unconsciously I fought through everything.'
Heather Bowie, Pat Hurst and defending champion Se Ri Pak shared second place at 1-under-par 215.
Sorenstam led by two shots entering the round, but bogeyed each of the first two holes to drop into a share of the lead. Bowie, who birdied the first, bogeyed the second to share first with Sorenstam at minus-2.
'I started with two bogeys, obviously not the start I would like, but I hung in there,' said Sorenstam, who earns $225,000 with the victory.
The big swing came at the par-4 fifth. Sorenstam birdied, while Bowie faltered with a bogey to fall two shots back. Sorenstam went on to birdie the sixth and seventh to open a three-stroke lead.
Sorenstam's lead dropped to two shots when Pak birdied the 13th. The lead was briefly one shot when Sorenstam bogeyed No. 13, but Pak dropped a shot moments later at the 15th to fall two back.
The Swede rolled in a lengthy bogey putt on 15, to remain two ahead of Hurst and Pak. The putt may have been the turning point as Sorenstam cruised from there.
'I was struggling with myself more than anything to stay positive,' the Swede said. 'No. 15 is a typical example. It's just horrendous golf, but then I fought and made a long putt for bogey and I saved myself. I am glad I turned it around.'
Hurst and Sorenstam both parred the par-3 16th. Then on the par-5 17th, Sorenstam two-putted for birdie at the par-5 to take a three-shot lead. She capped her 43rd career victory with another birdie at the last.
'This is only April and I'm very, very tired and this is kind of a conclusion,' Sorenstam said. 'I am mentally worn out, and to be able to finish birdie-birdie giving everything I had, that's very satisfying.'
Sorenstam puts another notch in her stellar career. She moves into seventh place on the all-time wins (43) list, five behind Nancy Lopez. This victory was also her 134th top-10 finish in 200 career LPGA starts.
Pak climbed into contention with three birdies and one bogey on the front nine. She moved to minus-3 with a birdie at the par-4 13th. However, the defending champion could not sustain her momentum as she bogeyed the 15th and 16th to complete her round of 1-under 71.
Hurst had several opportunities to make a charge but she could not get going. She posted one birdie and one bogey on the front and back nines for an even-par round of 72. Hurst missed several good birdies opportunities on the back nine.
Bowie tied Sorenstam atop the leaderboard at the first when she rolled in a birdie putt and remained tied with the eventual winner when they both bogeyed the par-4 second. Bowie notched one birdie and one bogey the rest of the nine to make the turn at even-par for her round and three shots off the pace.
Around the turn, Bowie's chances of winning were squashed when she double bogeyed the par-4 14th. Bowie did come back with a birdie at the par-5 17th that helped cap a round of 1-over 73 and her best-ever finish on the LPGA Tour.
Michele Redman finished alone in fifth place at even-par 216. Sophie Gustafson and Jeong Jang were one stroke further back at 1-over-par 217.
Related Links
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    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x