Sorenstam Ties Inkster at ShopRite

By Sports NetworkJune 4, 2005, 4:00 pm
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Annika Sorenstam fired a 6-under 65 on Saturday to join overnight leader Juli Inkster atop the leaderboard at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Inkster, who shot a second-round 67, and Sorenstam are knotted at 10-under-par 132 at the Seaview Resort Bay Course.
Laura Davies established a new course record on Saturday with a 9-under 62. She is alone in third place at minus-9, while Pat Hurst, who carded a 64 on Saturday, has sole possession of fourth at 7-under-par 135. Catriona Matthew posted a 5-under 66 and is in fifth at minus-5.
Sorenstam parred her first two holes, then came up short of the green with her second at the par-5 third. She chipped to tap-in range, then sank a 4-footer at the next for back-to-back birdies.
She parred the next five holes, but found trouble at the 10th. Sorenstam landed her approach 15 feet from the cup, but three-putted for bogey, including a missed 3-footer for par.
'I don't really know what happened,' admitted Sorenstam. 'I told my caddie I hit three good putts. That's the way I'm going to look at it I'm not going to analyze it too much.'
Sorenstam rebounded in a big way on the second nine. She hit a sand-wedge to 8 feet at both the 12th and 13th holes and walked away with birdies. The Swede parred No. 15, but converted a 6-foot birdie putt at 16 and a 5-footer at the last to grab her share of the lead.
Sorenstam has already had a stellar 2005 campaign. She owns four victories, including the season's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Next week is the McDonald's LPGA Championship and the top player in the game wants to be ready. The strength at the top of the leaderboard should help.
'I'm looking forward to it,' said Sorenstam. 'Juli is playing great golf. Laura played a superb round. Anything can happen. A lot of important things can be decided in the next few weeks.'
Inkster, who held a two-shot lead at the start of the second round, found trouble early in round two. Her drive at the second found the right rough and she had to pitch out. Inkster knocked a sand-wedge to 15 feet, but two-putted for a bogey.
That would be the last hiccup for the 44-year-old Hall of Famer. She hit a 9-iron to 18 feet to set up birdie at four, then made it back-to-back birdies with a 12-footer at the fifth. Inkster collected her third birdie in a row with another 12-footer at six.
Inkster played steadily around the turn with pars. At the 13th, Inkster played a sand-wedge to 13 feet and rolled in the birdie try. She reached 10 under par when she ran home a 6-foot birdie putt at 17.
'Even though I didn't score as well, I thought I played well and had a lot of opportunities,' admitted Inkster. 'I'm starting to play a little better and my swing is starting to feel a little better.'
Inkster has not won on tour since 2003 and for her to get back into the winner's circle, she will have to go through the No. 1 player in the sport.
'I feel very comfortable playing with Annika,' said Inkster, who overtook her for the win at the 2002 U.S. Women's Open. 'I'm going to have to play really well to win.'
Natalie Gulbis and Carin Koch both shot rounds of 4-under 67 on Saturday and are tied for sixth place at minus-4.
Defending champion Cristie Kerr fired a 5-under 66 and shares eighth with reigning Women's British Open champion Karen Stupples (67), Joanne Morley (67), Jeong Jang (70) and Mi Hyun Kim (71). The group finished 36 holes at 2-under-par 140.
The 36-hole cut fell at 4-over-par 146 and 77 players advanced to the final round.
Related Links:
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    Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

    By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

    While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

    The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

    "I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

    Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

    According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

    "I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

    Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

    Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

    "I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

    Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

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    Spieth vs. Reed random? Hmm, wonders Spieth

    By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Monday’s blind draw to determine the 16 pods for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play didn’t exactly feel “blind” for Jordan Spieth, whose group includes Patrick Reed.

    Spieth and Reed have become a staple of U.S. teams in recent years, with a 7-2-2 record in the Ryder and Presidents Cup combined. So when the ping-pong ball revealed Reed’s number on Monday night Spieth wasn’t surprised.

    “It seems to me there's a bit more to this drawing than randomness,” laughed Spieth, whose pod also includes Haotong Li and Charl Schwartzel. “It's not just me and him. It's actually a lot of groups, to have Luke List and Justin [Thomas] in the same group seems too good to be true. It might be some sort of rigging that's going on, I'm not sure.”

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    Spieth will play Reed on Friday in the round-robin format and knows exactly what to expect from the fiery American.

    “I've seen it firsthand when he's been at his best. And we have history together in a couple of different playoffs, which is a match-play scenario,” Spieth said. “I've got to take care of work tomorrow and the next day for that day to even matter. But even if it doesn't matter, trust me, it will matter to both of us.”

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    U.S. Open champ Koepka (wrist) to miss Masters

    By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:12 pm

    Reigning U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka will miss the Masters, according to a USA Today report.

    Koepka has been battling a left wrist injury since late last year, and he hasn't played since finishing last at the limited-field Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January. Weeks later he revealed that he had a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) tendon but hoped to return in time for the season's first major.

    According to the report, Koepka only started putting this week and plans to begin hitting chips next week.

    "They said I would be about 80 percent, but I can't play 80 percent," Koepka said. "I either have to go full bore or not at all. I don't want to risk getting it re-injured and then be out a long time."

    Koepka has finished T-33 or better in each of his three prior Masters appearances, culminating in a T-11 result last year.

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    Spieth's agent leaving firm, but keeping Spieth as client

    By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Jay Danzi has stepped down as COO of Lagardère Sports U.S., and will take one of the game’s most marketable players, Jordan Spieth, with him.

    In a press release, Danzi said, “after careful consideration I feel that it’s time for a new adventure.” Danzi will represent Spieth independently.

    “It’s been a privilege having Jordan be part of the Lagardère Sports’ family for the last five years and watching him grow from a promising young player to someone who transcends the game,” said Steve Loy, Lagardère Sports president of golf. “We are also grateful for Jay’s contributions over the years, in golf and other areas of our business.”

    Lagardère Sports underwent an aggressive expansion in recent years, acquiring numerous boutique firms including Danzi’s business and Crown Sports Management.

    Although losing Spieth, the world’s fourth-ranked player, and Danzi, who took over as Lagardère COO in February 2017, is a setback, the firm still has a number of high-profile clients including Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm and Patton Kizzire, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.