Notes Busy Time for Annika Stricker Chooses Family
Starting next week, she will be playing in four straight tournaments -- but only two on the LPGA Tour.
Sorenstam will play in Dubai next week on the Ladies European Tour, then go to Japan for the Mizuno Classic, an LPGA event she has won the last five years. Instead of playing the Tournament of Champions in Alabama, however, Sorenstam has agreed to play in Greg Norman's Merrill Lynch Shootout in Naples, Fla., where Fred Couples will be her partner. The season ends at the ADT Championship.
Sorenstam has not played the Tournament of Champions since 2002, and it was never in her plans. Then again, she usually has the points-based award wrapped up by now.
'I can't really add any more because I'm playing every week,' she said. 'If there was some more tournaments, maybe I would add some. I gave it a run. I had a lot of tournaments to catch them.'
Sorenstam is not mathematically eliminated. She would have to win the Mizuno Classic and ADT Championship, and hope that Ochoa finishes outside the top three at her final two events, in Alabama and the Trump International.
Not quite two months after the PGA TOUR announced its fall schedule, it has hit a speed bump with one of them.
Because of construction delays and financial issues surrounding the Running Horse Golf and Country Club, tour officials will be going to Fresno, Calif., this week to meet with the developers.
The Running Horse Golf Championship is to be played Oct. 25-28 next year, the second-to-last event on the 2007 schedule. Along with falling behind on the course, KFSN-TV in Fresno has reported that the managing partners are trying to sell it.
'Things at the golf course are going slower than we thought they were,' PGA TOUR spokesman Bob Combs said. 'I understand there are one or maybe more groups looking at investing in it. But from our perspective, we're playing in Fresno.'
One option for the tour if Running Horse is not ready would be to move it to another golf course in the area, such as Fort Washington.
'We believe Running Horse is going to be the site,' Combs said. 'If it turns out to be another one, we'll cross that bridge. The key thing is we'll be there.'
TIME TO COME HOME
This should sound familiar: A PGA TOUR player deeply devoted to his family stops playing until the Bob Hope Classic because he wants to spend time at home.
For Steve Stricker, his decision means leaving a lot on the table.
It has been an amazing year for Stricker, who failed to get through the final stage of Q-school and could only get in three tournaments the first 15 weeks of the season. With two top 10s in the majors and solid play just about everywhere else, he was considered for the Ryder Cup team and moved all the way up to No. 32 on the money list.
Stricker, however, turned down exemptions to Greensboro and Disney. His season is over.
'I really don't have much to gain getting in the Tour Championship, other than the prestige,' he said. 'I'm in the U.S. majors next year. I've got a 5-month-old daughter, and it's nice to be at home. All my tournaments came at a compressed time, which was good. I have no complaints. It was a great year. But my wife is ready to have me at home. And I was ready to go home.'
This is nothing new.
Stricker, a Midwestern man at heart, usually stops playing in September to spend time with his children (he also has an 8-year-old) in Wisconsin and to hunt. He hasn't had a choice the last few years, and sure didn't think he would have that luxury this year.
Laura Davies qualified for the Samsung World Championship with a recent surge that put her atop the Ladies European Tour money list. But it wasn't enough to turn her back on a commitment to a friend.
Davies had pledged to walk 56 miles of the Great Wall of China to raise money for Great Ormond Street, the hospital that is treating the 1-year-old daughter of Helen Dobson. Davies and Dobson played on the Curtis Cup team together, and Dobson's daughter has Down's syndrome.
It can be a daunting walk, especially as the wall narrows.
'You know me, I never do anything I don't want to do,' Davies told The Daily Telegraph newspaper in Britain.
It was rough, even after walking. The 43-year-old Davies stayed in farm houses with thin walls, hard beds, cold water and toilets that amounted to holes in the ground. And for meals? An evening bowl of rice.
'If I haven't lost weight, it will be a travesty,' Davies said.
One thing she was sure to gain was respect.
SAMSUNG ON THE MOVE?
With sparse galleries and a pedestrian performance from Michelle Wie, perhaps the biggest buzz at the Samsung World Championship was its possible relocation next year to Pebble Beach.
No deal has been signed, nor has the tournament decided where to stage the 2007 event.
The 20-player field has been held at 14 courses in its 27-year history, from Florida to California, from Australia to South Korea. It has been in California since 2000, first at Hiddenbrooke in Vallejo, the last three years at Bighorn.
Should it move to Pebble Beach, the only question is: Which course?
The famous Pebble Beach Golf Links is not one of the options, because the dates for next year already are booked. That could leave a course such as Del Monte or Poppy Hills, perhaps Spyglass Hill or Spanish Bay.
Tournament officials said the Samsung could return to Bighorn next year if a move to Pebble doesn't work out.
Ian Baker-Finch will remain a big part of TV coverage next year, switching over to CBS Sports as an analyst. ... Geoff Ogilvy picked up his third big prize of the year -- the birth of his first child. He and his wife, Juli, celebrated the birth of Phoebe Elizabeth on Oct. 10. Ogilvy won a World Golf Championship in February and the U.S. Open in June. ... John Cook received a sponsor's exemption to the Funai Classic at Disney, and he needs a big week. He is No. 126 on the money list, $648 behind Brian Bateman.
STAT OF THE WEEK
The Samsung World Championship was the fifth time since 2001 that Annika Sorenstam has failed to win after leading by at least three shots going into the final round.
'No one is ever going to be 100 percent happy with me. I'm not ever going to be 100 percent happy with everyone in the entire world. That's normal. It would be pretty scary if everyone was happy all the time.' -- Michelle Wie.
Koepka: Second-place finishes becoming 'annoying'
Brooks Koepka didn't go down without a fight.
Trailing Justin Rose by four shots going into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational, Koepka shot his second 7-under 63 of the week - and made up precisely one shot. He finished solo second at 17 under par, three shots behind Rose.
He could only marvel at the Englishman's performance in closing with a 6-under 64.
"It was pretty impressive," he said. "Justin played well. Hat's off to him. Any time you can come into a lead with four shots and play the way he did today, that's impressive."
Although Koepka was pleased with his own play - especially his putting - he said it felt "annoying" to come in second. Again.
"I feel like we've had so many second-place finishes," he said. "Always seem to run into a buzz saw, whatever it is."
Since May of 2016, Koepka has five solo second-place finishes and one T-2. But he also has a U.S. Open title, won last year at Erin Hills. He'll attempt to defend that title June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills. "It's nice to finally be playing well and get going into the season," he said. "Kind of peaking right where I need to be."
Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee's task was simple: A birdie on No. 18 would win her the tournament. It was a manageable par 5, the easiest hole on the course in the final round.
After a good drive, her second shot came closer to trouble than much of the gallery probably realized.
''I almost clipped the tree,'' Lee said. ''I overcut it a little bit, but it finished out in a good position.''
Lee's shot came to rest just to the right of the green, and from there it was a simple chip and putt for the birdie that gave her a one-stroke win over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship on Sunday. Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, won for the first time since 2016. It was the Australian's fourth career victory.
Lee three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round about the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18. The 18th hole was 470 yards Sunday. There were 44 birdies there in the final round.
''The tee was up,'' she said. ''I was pretty confident that I could get there in two if I had a good drive.''
Lee made her winning putt from about 3 feet. She finished at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.
''I kind of knew that 16 was the number and I mean, I give my best,'' Kim said. ''I make some good shots and birdies.''
Moriya Jutanugarn (65) finished third at 14 under.
Lee took a two-stroke lead into the final round, and that was her margin over playing partner Stacy Lewis before Lewis (71) bogeyed No. 7 and 8. Kim emerged as the biggest threat to Lee when she birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine. Lewis is playing four months' pregnant with her first child.
Kim and Lee were briefly tied at 15 under, but then Lee made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 14th, while Kim bogeyed 15. Lee saved par on 15 despite a wayward drive into a bunker.
''I wasn't sure where I was score-wise then. That par 5 is reachable in two, so I think a lot of people would have made birdie there,'' Lee said. ''The next tee shot I just pulled into the bunker. ... I think that was really important for me to hole that par putt just to keep the momentum going.''
Lee had gone 38 consecutive holes without a bogey before making one on the par-4 17th. That, combined with Kim's birdie on 18, left the two golfers tied, but Lee still had the 18th to come.
Su Oh (68) and Lindy Duncan (69) finished at 13 under, and Megan Khang (67) was another stroke back. Lewis finished at 11 under along with Ariya Jutanugarn (69) and Danielle Kang (70).
Lewis birdied three of the first six holes, but Lee did as well.
''It's hard to get close when somebody does that,'' Lewis said. ''She played great all day and played solid. When she needed to make a par putt, she did, and didn't make any mistakes.''
Lee lost this event by one stroke last year. Shanshan Feng, the 2017 winner , finished tied for 21st this time.
The LPGA has had a different winner in each of its 13 tournaments this year. The U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday at Shoal Creek.
Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'
Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.
"It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.
"So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."
Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.
"I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.
"So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.
"So I know it's right around the corner."
Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst wishes he had played this well in his 23 years on the European Tour.
''I know a lot more about my swing now and I guess you get that with age and experience,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said after shooting an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.
Broadhurst finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.
Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round co-leaders Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.
Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).
Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory and moved to the top of the money list. He won six times on the European Tour, was a 1991 Ryder Cup player for Europe and has three European Senior Tour victories.
''It was really a special week,'' he said. ''It got a little bit tense out there. I knew I was playing well but I didn't seem to making any progress against Tim Petrovic. He was side-by-side on the back nine it seemed.''
He learned his lead was three strokes standing on the 18th tee when his caddie asked a television announcer.
''So we put my driver away and reached for the rescue club,'' he said. ''If I made a 5 there that would be fine.''
Broadhurst started the round two strokes behind Petrovic and McCarron, birdied the first hole and was tied with Petrovic for the lead by the turn. He took his first lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, led by two after 16 and birdied the final two holes, including a dramatic 40-foot putt for birdie at the 18th hole.
''I guess it would have been a bit of anti-climax if I would have three-putted the last green, but that would have given Tim a chance of holing his second shot,'' he said. ''I actually spoke to my caddie about that going down the last - we don't want to three-putt and five him the opportunity because stranger things have happened in golf. To see it go in the middle of the hole was just a special feeling.''
Petrovic said missed birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 8 were costly, but it might not have mattered with the way Broadhurst was playing.
''In hindsight it was all for naught,'' he said. ''He was so far ahead of us. Hat's off the guy. It was a great week - we just got beat. When he made the putt on 18 ahead of us I almost started clapping in the fairway and waving a white towel. It was well-deserved. That was great playing. He won the championship for sure.''
Broadhurst shot 72 in the first round, started rolling in putts with a 66 in the second round and was 15 under on the weekend. In addition to the leading 26 birdies, he topped the putts per greens in regulations numbers for the tournament as well with a 1.574 average.
''I wasn't aware I made that many birdies,'' he said. ''That's pretty impressive around this course.''
He said his game has long been unpredictable.
''I'm not blessed with a consistent swing like Bernhard Langer, but when it's on, it works,'' he said. ''If I'm putting well, then anything can happen, really.''