Sorenstam Moves Three Clear at Evian

By Sports NetworkJuly 23, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 Evian MastersEVIAN-LES-BAINS, France -- Annika Sorenstam, the 2000 and 2002 winner here, fired a bogey-free, 7-under 65 in the third round Friday to move three strokes clear of the field at the Evian Masters.
Sorenstam completed three rounds at 16-under-par 200, which tied the 54-hole scoring mark she set 2002.
Karen Stupples, who led after two rounds, managed a 3-under 69 to move to 13-under-par 203. Lorena Ochoa, the 2003 Rookie of the Year, posted a 5-under 67 and stands one stroke behind Stupples at minus-12. Wendy Doolan carded her third straight round in the 60s to move into fourth place at 11-under-par 205.
Sorenstam opened with a birdie at the first, as she did on Thursday. She parred the next four holes before sinking a 16-foot birdie putt at the sixth that moved her to 11 under.
The Swede came right back with a two-putt birdie the par-5 seventh for the third straight round. Sorenstam birdied the 10th and 11th at Evian Masters Golf Club to jump to minus-14 and into the lead.
Sorenstam, who will defend her crown at the Women's British Open next week. rolled home a short birdie putt at the par-3 14th. She parred her next three holes.
Despite finding the rough off the tee at the par-5 18th, Sorenstam pitched her second shot down the fairway from a bad lie. She nearly holed her 7-iron third shot setting up a tap-in birdie to close three shots clear of the field.
'It moved 74 yards,' said Sorenstam of her second shot on the 18th. 'I had a really bad lie. The rough may not seem that tall, but with all rain it grabs my club. I hit a 9-iron and only advanced it a little bit.'
Sorenstam, a six-time Solheim Cup performer, will shoot for win No. 53 on Saturday.
'What else can I say. I'm very happy I got off to good start and played very solid throughout the day,' Sorenstam said. 'I hit a lot of good iron shots, and made few mistakes. I didn't drop a shot.'
Stupples opened her round with five consecutive pars. She then birdied the par-4 sixth for the first time in three rounds to move to 11 under. From there, Stupples ran off four more pars in a row.
At the 11th, Stupples rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt, but stumbled to a bogey at the very next hole. Stupples closed with a flourish as she birdied each of the final two holes to get within three of Sorenstam.
'I didn't really feel my best today,' Stupples said. 'For me to be 3 under I'm really happy with that. It was a bit of a struggle. I was relieved to see my ball go in 17 when I chipped in and happy with birdie on 18.'
Sorenstam, who began one shot behind Stupples, seems to have Stupples' number.
'Annika does it to me every time. The difference this time is at least we have another day tomorrow,' said Stupples. 'She capitalized on the par-5s and hit some great golf shots even when she got into trouble. You can't gripe with someone shooting 7 under par. Even when there was a glimmer of hope for me on 18, she came back. She is the No. 1 player in the world.'
Laura Davies, the first-round leader, posted an even-par 72. She stands alone in fifth place at 9-under-par 207. Rosie Jones, Carin Koch and Suzann Pettersen share sixth place at minus-8. Gloria Park and Marta Prieto are one stroke further back at 7-under-par 209.
Juli Inkster, the defending champion, used a 5-under 67 to move into a tie for 11th place at 6-under-par 210.
Amateur sensation Michelle Wie struggled mightily during round three. She posted a 4-over 76 to slide into a tie for 40th place at 2-over-par 218.
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Leaderboard - Evian Masters
  • Full Coverage - Evian Masters
  • Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.