Sorenstam Secures Fifth Win in Style

By Sports NetworkJune 5, 2005, 4:00 pm
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Annika Sorenstam eagled the final hole Sunday to cap a round of 7-under 64 to earn her third title at the LPGA ShopRite Classic. Sorenstam completed the 54-hole event at 17-under-par 196.
 
That score tied her own scoring record for the event, which she first posted in 1998. Sorenstam titled here in 1998 and 2002. She won for the fifth time in seven starts this season and now owns 61 career wins.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam shrugs after dropping in an eagle putt on the 72nd hole en route to her fifth title of the season.
'I don't know if you can really put it into perspective,' said Sorenstam of her 61 wins and five victories in seven starts this year. 'I would say I'm overwhelmed. Obviously, it is something I'm very proud of.'
 
Juli Inkster, the 1986 and 1988 champion, closed with a three-under 68 to take second place at 13-under-par 200. Catriona Matthew also fired a 64 to share third place with Laura Davies at minus-12.
 
Davies actually birdied the first three holes to take the early lead at minus-12. However, she could only manage one more birdie and one bogey over her final 15 holes at the Seaview Resort Bay Course.
 
Sorenstam meanwhile opened with four straight pars. She moved within one shot of Davies with a birdie at the fifth. The Swede parred her next three holes before collecting her second birdie at the ninth.
 
That birdie gave her a two-stroke cushion over her playing partner, Inkster. Sorenstam, who is the two-time defending champion at next week's McDonald's LPGA Championship, birdied the 10th to move to 13 under.
 
Sorenstam picked up her fourth birdie on the 13th, to move two clear of Inkster, who had birdied 10 and 12. The 34-year-old Sorenstam birdied the 17th before closing the tournament in style with an eagle at the last.
 
'I can't believe the finish. I thought I played really good on the back nine,' said Sorenstam, who picked up $210,000 for the win. 'I thought the back nine has been my mine this week. Obviously I am very happy, but you never know what could happen out there. I had to fight to the end.'
 
Inkster was never really a factor on Sunday. She birdied the third, but dropped a shot at six.
 
Around the turn, Inkster collected a birdie on No. 10 and got to 12 under with a birdie from 10 feet out at 12. That got her within one of Sorenstam, but she only managed one more birdie, at 17, coming in.
 
'I played really well, but No. 6 killed me,' said Inkster, who has finished second behind Sorenstam in all three of Sorenstam's wins at this event. 'I thought I hit some good putts, they just didn't go in. I just needed to play great to win.'
 
Jeong Jang and Pat Hurst shared fifth place at 8-under-par 205. Jimin Kang tied the course record of 62 that Davies set on Saturday. Kang finished at minus-7 alongside Mi Hyun Kim in seventh place.
 
Joanne Morley and Natalie Gulbis tied for ninth place at 5-under-par 208. Stacy Prammanasudh and 2004 champion Cristie Kerr ended one stroke further back at minus-4.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.