Sorenstam Storms to the Front

By Sports NetworkApril 22, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Florida Natural Charity ChampionshipSTOCKBRIDGE, Ga. -- Annika Sorenstam fired an 8-under 64 on Saturday to take the lead heading into the final round of the Florida's Natural Charity Championship.
 
Sorenstam, the defending champion, is through three rounds at 17-under-par 199 for a one-shot lead over Sung Ah Yim.
 
Karrie Webb
Kraft Nabisco champion Karrie Webb is five back entering the final round.
Yim held the lead after two rounds, but her 4-under 68 on Saturday was not enough to hold off Sorenstam's charge. Yim is four shots ahead of five players who are tied for third place.
 
Sorenstam ran away with this title last year, beating Candie Kung by 10 shots for the fourth of 10 wins she collected last year.
 
The world No. 1 has just one victory this season -- at the MasterCard Classic last month -- but if recent history is any indicator, Sorenstam will collect her second title on Sunday: She has gone on to win each of the last six times she has held at least a share of the third-round lead.
 
'I'm in a little bit of a different position than last year, but having said that, I think I'm in great shape for tomorrow,' said Sorenstam. 'It seems like I like this golf course. I'm going to go out and enjoy it tomorrow as well.'
 
Sorenstam began Saturday in a tie for fifth place, and after a 45-minute weather delay pushed the start of the round back, she began making immediate headway with birdies on her first two holes.
 
Her birdie at the par-5 second came after she chipped within inches from just short of the green.
 
Sorenstam's only bogey of the round, at the par-4 fifth, was followed by four consecutive birdies that put the Swede at 14 under. Those birdies came on putts that totaled 35 feet.
 
'It seemed like once I made a birdie I kept going with it,' Sorenstam said. 'I putted well today...which is really the key.'
 
Sorenstam, who will be looking for her 68th career win on Sunday, added three more birdies on the back nine -- at the 13th, 16th and 18th holes -- to assume the lead over Yim. She also saved par at the par-4 17th with an 11-foot putt.
 
'I'm happy with the way I'm playing,' said Sorenstam. 'I'm hitting a lot of fairways and greens and am putting well.
 
'I think I have become friendly with the golf course.'
 
Yim carded a bogey-free round, but her four birdies were not enough. She carded three consecutive birdies from the second hole, but then didn't pick up another shot until her birdie at the par-5 13th, where she knocked a pitching wedge within four feet.
 
Like everyone else, Yim also sat through an 85-minute weather delay in the middle of her round.
 
'I had a good day -- just a little thunderstorm stopped the play,' said Yim, whose best career finish was a tie for third place at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic last year, her rookie season on the LPGA Tour.
 
'I think it's a good round -- good enough for me,' added the South Korean.
 
Karrie Webb, a winner at the Kraft Nabisco Championship two weeks ago, leads a group of five players tied for third place at 12-under-par 204. Webb shot a 2-under 70 on Saturday and is tied with Sherri Turner (63), Jeong Jang (67), Beth Daniel (68) and Brittany Lang (69).
 
Cristie Kerr is one stroke further back in eighth place after a third-round 65.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Florida's Natural Charity Championship
  • Full Coverage - Florida's Natural Charity Championship
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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.