Notes Slow Play Bothersome Annikas Awesome Stats

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2005 McDonaldHARVE DE GRACE, Md. -- HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. -- Michelle Wie stood next to her 300-yard drive in the middle of the eighth fairway, hands on hips.
 
The players in front of the 15-year-old from Hawaii were busy lining up putts on the par-5 hole, and the group behind watched from the tee.
 
Somebody forgot to tell the players that Saturday was moving day at the LPGA Championship.

Michelle Wie
Despite the slow pace of play, Michelle Wie managed a 1 under par to move into a tie for third.
At times, Bulle Rock Golf Club had the look of a local muni, with groups stacked up. The average round was about 4 1/2 hours -- for twosomes.
 
``It was pathetic,'' Laura Davies said. ``I'd like to take a gun and shoot the slow ones. How can you play 4 1/2 hours in two-ball on a golf course like this?
 
``They stand over these putts for a quarter of an hour.''
 
The slow pace even bothered Annika Sorenstam, who stretched her lead to five strokes heading into the final round.
 
``I was looking forward to twosomes,'' the two-time defending champion said. ``I thought the pace would be fast. Tempo and rhythm are very important to me. Today, it felt like we waited on every single shot.''
 
Play was so tardy that CBS ended its telecast at 6 p.m., with the final pairing of Sorenstam and Davies on the 17th green, even though the tour had allotted 4:20 for each group's round.
 
The slow play seemed to be most evident on the front nine, with groups waiting on almost every tee, starting at No. 3.
 
``Yeah, I noticed it was slow,'' said Wie, who shot her second straight 71 and was at 5 under, seven strokes behind Sorenstam.
 
When it was suggested that 6,400-yard, Pete Dye-designed Bulle Rock was the problem, Davies, who had a 2-over 74, scoffed.
 
``They're just slow,'' Davies said of her tour brethren. ``Annika's the best player in the world, and she's not slow.''
 
Veteran Rosie Jones agreed.
 
``On this course, it should be 4 hours,'' Jones said. ``The front nine has been slow all week. There are some tough holes and some tough pin placements there.
 
``But yesterday (Friday), there were three groups on 17, so you just can't figure it out.''
 
Wie, the first amateur to play in the McDonald's LPGA Championship, had a taste of fast and slow play.
 
In Friday's second round, Wie was in the first group off the 10th tee at 7:15 a.m. and her threesome got around in under 4 1/2 hours.
 
``Yesterday, it seemed like we were running for our life,'' she said.
 
Saturday was a real test.
 
``You just have to concentrate and think about other things. I think I did that pretty good,'' Wie said.
 
Defending U.S. Women's Open champion Meg Mallon anticipated the long day.
 
``We knew this golf course was going to take some time to get around,'' she said.
 
SORENSTAM BY THE NUMBERS
Annika Sorenstam's dominating performances on the LPGA Tour are producing incredible statistics.
 
The Swedish star has scored in the 60s in 14 straight rounds and in 22 of 29 rounds this season. The LPGA Tour record for most rounds in the 60s in a season is 51, set by Lorena Ochoa a year ago.
 
Sorenstam has won 17 tournaments twice, including the LPGA Championship. If she can maintain her lead at Bulle Rock and win the second leg of the Grand Slam, she'll add the event to the eight tournaments she's won three times.
 
Sorenstam has won the Samsung World Championships (1995, '96, '02, '04) and Mizuno Classic (2001, '02, '03, '04) four times.
 
JONES' COUNTDOWN
Rosie Jones has to look toward the U.S. Women's Open and the Women's British Open if she hopes to win a major before retiring at the end of the year.
 
After starting the third round tied for 11th and in contention six shots behind Annika Sorenstam, Jones struggled to a 2-over 74 and slipped into a tie for 17th place at 1 under, 11 strokes off the pace.
 
She's satisfied she gave the LPGA Championship her best shot.
 
``I feel good when I play well, and I just didn't have my game,'' she said. ``I really thought I could go out there and shoot 2 or 3 under. But I just couldn't do it.''
 
Jones, whose first season on tour was 1982, liked her chances at the championship's new venue.
 
``I got excited the first time I saw Bulle Rock,'' said the 13-time winner whose last victory came in 2003. ``I loved it, loved it, loved it. Drove in, and loved it.
 
``It's just a great golf course ... It's just fun.''
 
PAST CHAMPIONS
Former LPGA Championship winners Juli Inkster, Karrie Webb moved up the leaderboard in the third round.
 
Inkster, who won the McDonald's LPGA title in 1999-00, shot a 1-under 71 in the third round and moved from 47th to 28th at 1-over 217.
 
Webb, who fulfilled the 10-year tour requirement to get into the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame after the first round, moved into a tie for 54th after a 72. The Australian, who won the championship in 2001, was tied for 70th after making the cut on the number. She stands at 5-over 221.
 
DIVOTS
Cristie Kerr had the lowest score of the third round, carding a 5-under 67 and vaulting from a tie for 47th place to a tie for 10th at 3-under 213. ... Young Kim moved into second place, five strokes off the lead, helped by an eagle at the 380-yard, par-4 fourth hole, where she sank a 7-iron from 155 yards. She finished with a 4-under 68. Michelle Redman also had an eagle on the 481-yard, par-5 eighth.
 
QUOTEABLE
``It's a race for second place now, the way I'm looking at it.'' -- Two-time LPGA Championship winner Laura Davies on the prospect of anyone catching leader Annika Sorenstam in Sunday's final round.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - McDonald's LPGA Championship
  • Full Coverage - McDonald's LPGA Championship
     
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