Sorenstam Wins Fourth Straight

By Sports NetworkNovember 7, 2004, 5:00 pm
OTSU-SHIGA, Japan -- Annika Sorenstam posted a 7-under 65 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Classic for a fourth straight season. Sorenstam finished at 22-under-par 194, nine strokes clear of her closest competitors.
 
'I am very happy,' said Sorenstam. 'It has been a wonderful week. I thought I played some great golf, so I am very happy to be the winner today.'
 
Grace Park, who won last week's CJ Nine Bridges Classic, carded a 67 to join Ai Miyazoto (63) and Michie Ohba (63) in a tie for second place at 13-under-par 203. Aree Song and Junko Omote shot matching rounds of 68 to share fifth place at 12-under-par 204.
 
Sorenstam has set many records throughout her career and her victory Sunday at Seta Golf Course put her alongside Laura Davies as the only players in LPGA history to win the same event four consecutive times. The win also moves Sorenstam into a tie for fourth place with Betsy Rawls on the LPGA all-time wins list with 55 career victories.
 
Sorenstam held a four-shot lead heading into the final round and parred each of her first four holes on Sunday. That streak ended with a birdie at the par-3 fifth followed by an eagle at the par-5 sixth after Sorenstam's second shot stopped within 8 feet of the hole.
 
'You never know what can happen, but when I made eagle on six I felt pretty good,' said Sorenstam. 'You can never take anything for granted, but I felt pretty comfortable then.'
 
The Swede then hit a wedge to 4 feet for a birdie at the par-4 seventh and knocked her approach inside 9 feet at the very next hole. Sorenstam drained the putt for another birdie to move to 20 under around the turn.
 
Sorenstam kept on cruising with another string of pars until she hit her second shot to 6 feet for a birdie at the par-4 14th.
 
Sorenstam then dropped her tee shot within a foot of the hole at the par-3 16th and tapped in for birdie to equal her margin of victory from last season.
 
'I think certain parts of my game have improved every year,' said Sorenstam, who posted her seventh victory of 2004. 'I think I have become a better player, and I think experience helps too.'
 
Karrie Webb, Hee-Won Han, Young Kim and Chieko Amanuma tied for seventh place at 11-under-par 205. Davies was one shot further back along with Candie Kung and Jamie Hullett at 10-under-par 206.
 
Chihiro Nakajima, who shared the first-round lead with Sorenstam, struggled to a 74 on Sunday to finish well off the pace at 9-under-par 207 alongside Gloria Park and Stacy Prammanasudh.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Mizuno Classic
  • Full Coverage - Mizuno Classic
  • Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

    By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

    Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

    David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

    “Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

    Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

    “I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

    Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

    The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

    Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

    Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

    1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

    2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

    While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

    Getty Images

    PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

    The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

    PGA Tour:

    The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

    LPGA:

    We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

    Getty Images

    Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

    By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

    JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

    The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


    Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


    Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

    ''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

    Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm