Im overwhelmed, Sorenstam said as she left the 18th green. It was an incredible day. I think it will hit me a little later, obviously right now Im overwhelmed. I was shooting for 54 but obviously I did not reach that - but its a pretty good start.
Annika, paired with Meg Mallon and sister Charlotta, teed off the back nine this morning and proceeded to card no fewer than eight consecutive birdies before her first par.
Still in shock over her performance Annika had this to say about todays round: Ive never been in this position before and Ive never made so many birdies in a row. After I made six birdies in a row I was starting to shake already. Just the start I got off to was incredible. I was looking at the leaderboard, and I was looking at my score because there was a chance to break the record.
Sorenstam made the turn in position to obliterate the old record of 61, and she did just that. By the time she hit the par-4 first a veritable legion was following the threesome. Five more birdies, two pars and nine holes later Annika Sorenstam had finished the front nine in 31 strokes to become the only woman ever to card a 59 in 18 holes of professional golf.
I was very nervous because I knew what was on the line, the eight-year veteran said. I started off with eight birdies in a row and was kind of in shock after that. Then I realized I still had some holes left and I could still do something.
Very few players on any tour have ever recorded a 59 in tournament play. Those who have include PGA Tour players Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval, as well as the Buy.Com Tours Notah Begay III and Doug Dunakey.
On the LPGA Tour two players, Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, held the old record of 61, 11-under-par. Sorenstams 61 was recorded during the first round of the 1999 Sara Lee Classic while Karrie Webbs 61 occurred during the second round of the 2000 Oldsmobile classic. Both were recorded on par-72 courses.
Se Ri Pak also recorded a 61 during the second round of the 1998 Jamie Farr Rail Classic but the course was a par-72 so her overall score was 10-under-par.
Just one week ago at the Welch's/Circle K, Annika Sorenstam spoke of her desire to be the No. 1 player in the world, and today she has effectively raised the bar for her greatest rival, Webb. The message is unmistakably, Move over, Karrie.
At 20-under-par, the rest of the field now is chasing Annika, and they have a lot of shots to make up. Only a handful of players were able to crack into double-digit scores today. Those that did were Pat Hurst, who shot 8-under-par 64 to move to 11-under-par for the tournament, and Se Ri Pak, who had also reached 11-under-par during her round.
First round leader Kris Tschetter was among players who just teeing off as Annika completed her historic round.
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