Sorenstam in trouble after opening 74 at ADT

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2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. ' Annika Sorenstam arrived at the first tee Thursday morning, shook a few hands and got a kiss on the cheek from Donald Trump.
 
Then she turned to the gallery and waved.
 
On Friday, unless she moves a bit up the leaderboard, shell be waving goodbye.
 
Lorena Ochoa
Defending champion Lorena Ochoa opened in 3-over 75 Thursday. (Getty Images)
Sorenstam shot a 2-over par 74 in Thursdays opening round of the ADT Championship, good for a tie for 23rd in the 32-woman event, her final LPGA Tour appearance before stepping away from competitive golf. The field gets trimmed to 16 after Fridays play, meaning Sorenstam has some work remaining just to reach the weekend.
 
Otherwise, her LPGA career will come to an unceremonious end.
 
I was a little nervous. I feel like Im playing good. Im excited about the week, Sorenstam said. But Im telling you, nothing went my way today.
 
Indeed, it was not a dominant round for the woman who once controlled her sport. She went barefoot into the water on the par-3 seventh to salvage a bogey and was 4 over through 10 holes, putting her into what seemed like a precarious spot.
 
But as shes done so many times throughout her 72-win career, the Hall of Famer rallied.
 
Sorenstam put together consecutive birdies on the par-4 14th and par-5 15th to stop the bogey bleeding and eventually finished six shots behind Katherine Hull (68).
 
I think she wants to win a few more, Hull said. But I guess time will tell.
 
Sorenstam is a four-time ADT winner and a giant fan of the Trump International course, but in this double-cut, erase-the-scores format, shes never even reached the weekend.
 
The scores are erased after Fridays play, then get wiped clear again after Saturdays round, after which only the top eight get invited back Sunday to play for the $1 million winners prize.
 
You cant really practice this format. Its once a year, said Sorenstam, who announced her plans to leave the game, start a family and tend to her business interests six months ago. You just have to go out and play your best golf and see where you stand.
 
Hull, one of the hottest players on tour over the last three months, finished one shot better than Ji-Yai Shin and In-Kyung Kim. Three others ' Ji Young Oh, Eun-Hee Ji and Na Yeon Choi ' were two strokes off Hulls pace.
 
Oddly, little attention was paid to the top of the leaderboard.
 
Most of the star power was off the first page.
 
World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa, the defending champion, was 6 over in one rough eight-hole stretch and finished tied for 26th after a 75. Cristie Kerr, last years U.S. Womens Open champion and a member at Trump International, was tied for 29th ' last ' after shooting 78 and will play alone Friday morning. Inbee Park, the reigning U.S. Open winner, withdrew after starting a whopping 13 over through 14 holes.
 
A few birdies will help, Ochoa said. I can do that.
 
Paula Creamer, who could catch Ochoa for the money title if she wins this week, was tied with Karen Stupples and Christina Kim for seventh place, three shots behind Hull. Seven players, including hometown favorite Morgan Pressel' whose Boca Raton base is a mere 30 minutes south of West Palm Beach'were tied for 10th after even-par rounds of 72.
 
Pressel said she made less than nothing in her opening round, lamenting that she wasted plenty of chances.
 
I think its probably set up the easiest since Ive played here, Pressel said.
 
Not everyone came away with the same assessment. Far from it, actually.
 
I think this is probably the toughest the course has ever been set up for us, said Karrie Webb, who had two birdies in her final three holes to salvage a 73.
 
The format remains a mystery to some players, including Shin, who struggled to answer if she enjoyed the unusual ADT setup.
 
I think its very tough, Shin said. It is, I think, very funny. Yeah, very funny.
 
Hull, who won the Canadian Open to start a run of six top-10 finishes in her last nine events, might have been the only one who found the course funny on Thursday. She only made two bogeys, and answered each one immediately with a birdie.
 
Just tried to execute the game plan and have fun, Hull said.
 
Hull said she wont play any differently Friday even though it would take a huge collapse for her to not qualify for Saturday.
 
Sorenstam, set to make her last start in three weeks in the Dubai Ladies Masters, wont change her approach either, even though she knows her spot in the weekend fields is hardly assured.
 
You just have to be patient, just fairways and greens, Sorenstam said. Its worked in the past for me, so Im not really going to change it. I just have to make a few more putts.
 
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