Sorenstam Excels Sabbatini Leads

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FT. WORTH, Texas -- Oh yes ' the tournament. Somewhere amongst the deluge of Annika Sorenstam stories, theyre going to crown a champion this week at the Bank of America Colonial. And striding to the top of the field after Round 1 was Rory Sabbatini.
 
Sabbatini opened the tournament with a 6-under 64, scoring seven birdies and a bogey.
 
I kind of scrambled my way around the course today, Sabbatini said. I didnt hit a lot of greens, but I chipped and putted really well.
 
It was hard to miss the irony of another situation. Vijay Singh, who was adamantly opposed to Sorenstam playing, withdrew after winning the Byron Nelson last week.
 
Sorenstam played, and she wound up shooting a 1-over 71. And the man who replaced Singh in the Colonial field? It was one Patrick Sheehan ' who just happened to shoot a 5-under 65 and was tied with Mark Calcavecchia, one off the lead.
 
I was actually going to take this week off, said Sheehan, who last year was on the Nationwide Tour. This is my sixth week in a row. Just last week I hit the wall, I was so tired on the weekend. I didnt want to ' I just wanted to go home.
 
When I found out I was this close to getting in, I was, like, Well you have to come here. It would be a shame to miss a tournament like this. Even though Annika ' you know, with Annika here, regardless, its still a tournament that you have to play in. You feel like you have to play in it.
 
The 65s were one better than another Swede, Jesper Parnevik, and Dan Forsman.
 
Calcavecchia shot his 65 after being injured last week.
 
I didnt have a whole lot of expectations coming into today, he said. I havent played much golf in the last week and a half. I can take this off (unwraps his wrist) now.
 
I somehow hurt my wrist a week ago Wednesday. And didnt touch a club until Tuesday of this week.
 
The course was still soggy after daylong rains Tuesday and Wednesday. And the soft conditions made the course play a little easier.
 
Yeah, it definitely was there for the taking, said Calcavecchia. It really cant play any easier. The harder and faster this course plays, the harder it plays ' even though it obviously is short.
 
The real story, though, was Sorenstam. She toured her frontside in 34 strokes, making birdie on her fourth hole (Colonials No. 13). However, she closed with a couple of bogeys, on one her 14th hole (No. 5) with a three-putt from the 60-foot range. And she bogeyed the last, No. 9, when her approach bounded through the green and went into the back rough. She tried to putt but left the first one eight feet away. She then missed the par try.
 
More on Sorenstam's round
 
I kind of stayed away from guessing what she would shoot, said Sheehan. Shes the best female in the world. She probably does things better than ' the only advantage I have is length. Shes hitting her driver straighter and her irons straight and she putts well. She could shoot under par out here.
 
I just saw her three-putt the last hole for bogey, but everybodys, like, shes even par. And thats terrific. Thats a good round for anybody out here.
 
Dan Forsman, who sparkled with a 4-under 66, reflected before Sorenstams finish what it would mean if she finished even-par ' she finished 1-over.
 
It would say shes a hell of a player ' excuse me, a heck of a player, he said. Lets face it ' with all the media that shes standing up to, thats tremendous. You tip your cap and hope she continues.
 
My gosh, this is exciting. I dont know ' its exciting to us players to see her play like that. And then I can imagine the media ' its got to be unbelievable. So I hope she does it. Im pulling for her.
 
Still, she faces an uphill climb to make the cut, said Parnevik.
 
I think she has to play better than today (Thursday), put it that way, he said. You never know. I dont even know whats going to be the weather tomorrow. But I think that its going to be tougher for her, the tougher the course plays, so to speak.
 
Related Links:
  • Full-field scores from the Bank of America Colonial
  • Full coverage of the Bank of America Colonial
  • ''Everything Annika'' Feature Page