Inkster leads while Annika struggles

By Associated PressJuly 31, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ricoh WomenSUNNINGDALE, England ' Juli Inkster had the opening round Annika Sorenstam was hoping for at the Womens British Open, a bogey-free 7-under 65 that left the 48-year-old American one shot ahead of the field.
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam studies a putt during her opening-round 72. (Getty Images)
While Sorenstam struggled to a 72 in what the Swede says is her final major before she quits tournament golf at the end of the season to start a family, Inkster went out among the earliest in the field to shoot an eagle and five birdies. Her 65 matched the lowest opening round at any Womens British Open.
Inkster, whose last major title was the 2002 Womens U.S. Open, is a stroke ahead of seven players ' Ji-Yai Shin, Ji Young Oh, Yuri Fudoh, Momoko Ueda, Jo Head, Laura Diaz and Stacy Prammanasudh. Defending champion Lorena Ochoa was three strokes behind.
Inksters opening round gives her a realistic hope of becoming the oldest winner of a major and the second player to complete a career Super Slam.
Thats the Kraft Nabisco, LPGA Championship, U.S. Open, British Open and the now defunct du Maurier, a combination only Karrie Webb has completed. Not even Sorenstam can do that because she missed out on the du Maurier.
A victory in Sunningdale also would mean that Inkster would have gone a womens record 24 years between her first major ' the 1984 Kraft Nabisco and du Maurier ' and her last. Jack Nicklaus went 24 years between his first and last majors ' the 1962 U.S. Open and 1986 Masters.
While Sorenstams decade of domination has brought 10 majors and 72 tournament victories, the product of a fiercely competitive nature and ability to grind out results, Inkster said her own longevity reflects something else.
I always thought I would play about five years and have a couple of kids and retire, said Inkster, a mother of two teenagers. Im kind of unique. I really love the game and I go out and play for fun. I think (with) Annika its a lot of hard work. Every time she tees it up shes expected to win. Her work ethic is just grind, grind, work out, hit balls.
I dont think Annika could come out here and finish 15th on the money list and live with herself. Me, Im OK with that. I enjoy what I do. I love playing golf but its not the end of the world for me.
Inkster acknowledged she was getting close to retirement.
I play 16 to 18 tournaments a year and get the rest off, she said. And I like what I do so I just play. Im not sure that Im going to play next year but I have plans to finish out this year and then Im going to re-evaluate and see. But Im getting close.
Prammanasudh twice was tied with Inkster at 7 under but each time she drew even she followed with bogeys at Nos. 15 and 17.
At one stage, Sorenstam was 3 over after bogeys at three of the first six holes. She finally birdied the ninth, picked up more shots after the turn, but is still seven strokes behind the leader.
I was looking forward to a wonderful day, but Ive never made as many bogeys as I have the last three months and its driving me crazy, Sorenstam said. I dont know what to do. Its so disappointing that I cant post something low. It seems like I cant play 18 holes.
Ochoa birdied the first two holes and was 5 under after 15. But two bogeys toward the end of her round left her at 69.
On the 17th tee, I got really mad, a bad drive off the tee and I didnt hit a good chip, said Ochoa, whose triumph at St. Andrews a year ago was her first major. But the rest, I have no complaints. I think the first day Im not worried.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Ricoh Women's British Open
  • Full Coverage - Ricoh Women's British Open
  • Getty Images

    Gooch chooses 'life over a good lie' with gators nearby

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:31 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – A fairway bunker wasn’t Talor Gooch’s only hazard on the 18th hole at TPC Louisiana.

    Gooch’s ball came to rest Thursday within a few feet of three gators, leading to a lengthy delay as he sorted out his options.

    Chesson Hadley used a rake to nudge two of the gators on the tail, sending them back into the pond surrounding the green. But the third gator wouldn’t budge.

    “It woke him up from a nap,” Gooch said, “and he was hissing away and wasn’t happy.”

    The other two gators remained in the water, their eyes fixed on the group.

    Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos

    “I’m sure we would have been fine, but any little movement by them and no chance I would have made solid contact,” he said.

    A rules official granted Gooch free relief, away from the gator, but he still had to drop in the bunker. The ball plugged.

    “I chose life over a good lie in that situation,” he said.

    He splashed out short of the green, nearly holed out his pitch shot and made par to cap off an eventful 6-under 66 with partner Andrew Landry.

    “It was my first gator par,” he said. “I’ll take it.”

    Getty Images

    Koepka's game 'where it should be' even after injury

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:18 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Brooks Koepka didn’t look rusty Thursday while making six birdies in the first round of the Zurich Classic.

    Making his first start in four months because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, Koepka and partner Marc Turnesa shot a 5-under 67 in fourballs at TPC Louisiana.

    “It felt good,” Koepka said afterward. “It was just nice to be out here. I played pretty solid.”

    Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos

    The reigning U.S. Open champion felt soreness in his wrist the week after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in the fall. He finished last at the Hero World Challenge in December and then the following month at the Tournament of Champions before shutting it down.

    He only began practicing last week and decided to commit to the Zurich Classic after three solid days at Medalist. He decided to partner with one of his friends in South Florida, Marc Turnesa, a former PGA Tour winner who now works in real estate.

    Koepka hasn’t lost any distance because of the injury – he nearly drove the green on the 355-yard 16th hole. He’s planning to play the next two weeks, at the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.

    “I feel like I’m playing good enough to be right where I should be in April,” he said. “I feel good, man. There’s nothing really wrong with my game right now.”

    Getty Images

    Like a tattoo: Ko shares early Mediheal lead

    By Randall MellApril 26, 2018, 10:45 pm

    Lydia Ko put herself in early position Thursday to try to extend her birthday celebration through Sunday at the LPGA Mediheal Championship.

    Ko, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is off to a strong start at Lake Merced Golf Club, where she has a lot of good memories to draw upon as she seeks to regain the winning form that made her the greatest teen phenom in the history of the women’s game.

    With a 4-under-par 68, Ko moved into a four-way tie for the lead among the morning wave in the first round. I.K. Kim, Jessica Korda and Caroline Hedwall also opened with 68s.

    All Ko has to do is look at her right wrist to feel good about returning to San Francisco. That’s where she tattooed the date April 27, 2014, in Roman numerals. That’s how she commemorated her Swinging Skirts victory at Lake Merced, her first title as an LPGA member. She won there again the following year.

    “This is a golf course where I've played well,” Ko said. “The fans have been amazing. They’ve been super supportive every single time I've come here, even since I played the U.S. Juniors here.”

    Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship

    Ko made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced in 2012.

    “It just brings back a lot of great memories,” she said.

    Ko got this week off to a good start with friends from South Korea and New Zealand flying to California to surprise her on her birthday. She was born in South Korea and grew up in New Zealand.

    “Turning 21 is a huge thing in the United States,” Ko cracked. “I’m legal now, and I can do some fun things.”

    Ko is looking to claim her 15th LPGA title and end a 21-month winless spell. Her ball striking was sharp Thursday, as she continues to work on improvements under her swing coach, Ted Oh. She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation.

    “My ball striking's been getting better these last few weeks, which has been really nice,” Ko said at week’s start. “But then I've been struggling with putting, which was the aspect of the game that was going really well. I feel like the pieces are there, and just, sometimes, the hardest thing is to kind of put all those pieces together. Just have to stay patient, I know there are a lot of good things happening.”

    Getty Images

    Watch: Rose drops trou despite gator danger

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 10:12 pm

    We all know how fashion-conscious pro golfers are, and sometimes that even trumps modesty.

    Take Justin Rose, whose tee shot on the par-3 third hole in Thursday's opening round of the Zurich Classic found the water. But the ball was close enough to shore for Rose to try to play it. Not wanting to get his light-colored pants dirty - what is up with all the white pants on Tour these days, anyway? - he took them off to play the shot.

    If there were any gators in the water hazard - and this being Louisiana, there almost certainly were - they showed no interest in the Englishman.

    It was only appropriate that Rose should strip down for a shot, as his partner, Henrik Stenson, famously did the same thing (to an even greater degree) at Doral in 2009.

    Finally, just to provide some closure, Rose failed to get up and down.