Wie Headlines But Sorenstam Leads


2005 Samsung World ChampionshipPALM DESERT, Calif. -- The No. 1 player in the world was not ready to cede the golf stage to the much-heralded rookie on Thursday.
Despite 16-year-old Michelle Wie's debut as a professional, Annika Sorenstam fired an 8-under-par 64 to take the opening-round lead of the Samsung World Championship at Bighorn Golf Club.
Wie, who turned professional eight days ago, bogeyed two of her final five holes to post a 2-under 70. She is tied for 12th place in this limited-field event, but the teenager was satisfied with her debut.
'It was so exciting and it was a whole new experience,' said Wie. 'After a while, it's the same old thing. You have to focus or you won't play the way you want to. It was fun.'
Wie's first drive as a professional was down the fairway, but she managed par. Her first birdie came one hole later as her approach stopped inches from the hole.
Wie got to 2 under par with a 5-foot birdie putt at seven, then moved up the leaderboard with strong play at the start of the second nine. She rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt at 10 and two-putted from the back of the green for a birdie at the par-5 12th.
She was now at 4 under par, but a missed fairway led to a bogey at 14. At the closing hole, Wie hit an errant drive into the left fairway bunker. Her second landed short in a greenside trap and she blasted out to 10 feet. Wie missed the par save, thus dropping her to minus-2.
'I was okay with the fact that I shot under par today,' said Wie. 'I could have shot a little bit better, but I still feel pretty good about it.'
If Wie is to visit the winner's circle in her professional debut, she will have a lot of ground to cover as some of the LPGA Tour's best are ahead of her.
Cristie Kerr, who played with Wie on Thursday, and Gloria Park are tied for second at 7-under-par 65. Lorie Kane and two-time winner and RookYear Paula
But don't forget about Sorenstam.
The defending champion and four-time winner of this event birdied her first hole, then added another at the third when her 7-footer ran around the hole, but ultimately fell.
Sorenstam kicked in a short birdie putt at the sixth and made it back-to-back birdies at seven. She sank a 20-footer for birdie at the eighth to make the turn at 5-under 31.
The Swede looked like she would take it lower at 11, but she pulled her 4-footer for birdie. She made up for it at the par-5 12th. Sorenstam's second landed in a bunker, but she played out to 3 feet and converted the birdie try.
At the 14th, Sorenstam tied Park at 7 under par when her 6-footer rolled in the cup. She took sole possession of first with a birdie at 15, then made routine pars at 16 and 17.
Sorenstam hammered her drive down the 18th fairway and left herself with a sand-wedge into the green. Her second stopped 4 feet from the hole, but the putt lipped out.
Although she missed some short putts, Sorenstam is already in prime position to achieve a feat that has thus far eluded the Hall of Famer. Sorenstam has never won the same event five times, but is a quarter of the way there this week.
Natalie Gulbis and Grace Park share sixth place after opening with rounds of 5-under-par 67. Rosie Jones and Marisa Baena are tied for eighth one stroke behind.
Reigning Women's British Open champion Jeong Jang and Meena Lee are tied for 10th place at minus-3.
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