Sorenstam Wins 40th Event at Samsung
With the victory, Sorenstam tied Nancy Lopez for the third most wins in a single season. Only Mickey Wright (13) and Kathy Whitworth (10) have had more titles in one year. Sorenstam also became the ninth player in LPGA Tour history with 40 or more career victories.
'I didn't think about the records until last year when I won eight times and I looked and saw what have the other ladies done,' commented Sorenstam. 'Then this year, I wanted to beat last year. So now that I'm here, I know what the great players have done before. From this week and next week, I didn't know if I was going to play, and I thought that maybe I needed a break but I'm going to go full force these last few events.'
Sorenstam and Kerr were tied entering Sunday at Hiddenbrooke Golf Club, but the first hole was the turning point of the final round. Sorenstam birdied after hitting a sand-wedge to four feet while Kerr struggled with a double bogey.
'I told my caddie, there are a few holes out there that I'd like to improve and one of those was No. 1,' said Sorenstam, the top-ranked player in the world. 'So to make birdie there, that was important to me. I wanted to improve on the front, and yes, I saw what Cristie was doing.'
Kerr hit her drive into a fairway bunker before finding a hazard with her second shot.
'I struggled with my swing, plain and simple,' Kerr said, who finished at 16-under-par 272 after a round of 71. 'I just bladed a sand-wedge out of there. It went about 40 yards further than it should have gone and into the hazard.'
Sorenstam padded her lead with birdies at the fifth, seventh and ninth and increased her lead to seven strokes with a birdie at the 12th. The Swede then added birdies at the 15th and 18th to finish with a bogey-free 65.
'Well, it's never over. That's something I've learned,' said Sorenstam, who won for the third time at this event. 'But my game felt so good, and after the first hole, I knew that this was going to be a good day. Once I rolled in that birdie on 12, I think I looked up and saw that I had a seven-shot lead, so I felt quite comfortable.'
Kerr followed her double at the first with a bogey on the second hole. She settled down from there and fought back to even-par for her round with a birdie on the 15th. Kerr got within five strokes of Sorenstam with a birdie at 16, but ran out of holes in the comeback attempt.
'She started hitting it closer and closer as we got toward the end,' mentioned Kerr in reference to Sorenstam. 'But hey, anything can happen. I just tried to make birdies. I didn't ever say to myself, 'I'm playing for second.' You always try to think that you have a chance to win, but at some point, you realize that you're not going to. Unless you get help from her, but that's not going to happen. She kept playing smart.'
Michele Redman finished alone in third place at 15-under-par 273. Se Ri Pak and Rosie Jones tied for fourth at 13-under-par 275. Lorie Kane and Rachel Teske ended two shots behind that pair. Teske, who also shot a 65, tied Sorenstam for the low round of the day.
Carin Koch and Juli Inkster finished tied for eighth place at 10-under-par 278. Last year's winner, Dorothy Delasin, and Mi Hyun Kim were a shot back at 9-under-par 279.
Laura Diaz and Paula Marti shared 12th at 7-under. Grace Park ended at 6-under and alone in 14th place, two strokes clear of Hee-Won Han. Karrie Webb, the 2002 Women's British Open champion, finished alone in 16th at 3-under-par 285.
Final results from the Samsung World Championship
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:
Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)
What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.
Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.
Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.
Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.
Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.
Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:
Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry