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Rain Puts Sorenstams Quest on Hold

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Annika Sorenstam will definitely play this weekend. So will the rest of the field at the Michelob Ultra Open. Sorenstam's quest for a record sixth straight win, in jeopardy after a rough opening round, was put on hold Friday when rain washed out play. The second round will start from scratch Saturday, and LPGA rules official Jim Haley said 36 holes will be played Sunday.
'The golf course is just not playable,' Haley said. 'We felt like, to be fair to everyone, we would scratch the round and start over.'
A steady rain had been falling since early Friday, but Haley said the golf course at Kingsmill, renovated over the winter, was still in good shape when the first group began play. The greens held up fine, but the fairways and tee boxes quickly got water-logged.
By the time the round was wiped out at noon, Haley said more than a half-inch of rain had fallen and more was on its way.
The forecast for the weekend, though, is clear.
'It's just frustrating, but what can you do?' said Natalie Gulbis, who was at 1 under for the day, one of the few players under par, when play was halted. 'I'm still in a good spot. Take the day off and start over tomorrow.'
After a 5-over-par 76 in Thursday's first round, Sorenstam has some work to do just to make the cut, let alone keep her winning streak going. She's won her last five starts, tying Nancy Lopez's long-standing record.
'I just want to move forward,' said Sorenstam, who is nine strokes behind first-round leaders Silvia Cavalleri and Catrin Nilsmark. 'I've got to go low the next three days, and I know I can do it.'
Her score was her highest in relation to par since a 5-over 77 in the second round of the 2002 British Open. That, by the way, also was the last time she missed a cut. She shot a 76 in the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship last year.
It also was her highest score in an opening round since a 76 in the 2000 Rochester International, and it ended a stretch of 43 rounds at par or better.
'I don't know what to say about this round,' she said. 'I thought I played pretty good today. It just didn't go my way at all.'
Sorenstam hasn't played since winning the Kraft Nabisco and had a five-week layoff. But she said she felt good going into the round. She wasn't feeling pressure about the streak, either, forgetting all about it after making a bogey on her second hole.
She just had a bad day, something most golfers know all too well.
'She is human,' Nilsmark said, smiling. 'Thank God.'
Her drives were solid, but the rest of Sorenstam's game was devoid of its usual finesse. Shots that normally would have landed a few inches from the hole were several feet off the mark. Putts that normally would go in stopped short or raced past the hole.
And on the par-5 No. 7, pretty much everything went wrong.
After pushing her second shot into a thicket of trees off the green, Sorenstam hit a rock and chunked her first attempt to get out. The next shot flew over the green, landing in the rough. She chipped within 8 feet, but her putt rolled 6 inches past the hole and she finished with a double bogey.
'I felt good about my game, I really do,' she said. 'I think I am hitting good putts. It's got to turn around for me to have a chance.'
And Sorenstam has rallied before. She shares the LPGA record for biggest comeback victory, rallying from 10 shots back on the final day to win The Office Depot in 2001.
She also made up four strokes in the final three holes, then won in a playoff, at the Safeway International, her fourth victory in her current streak.
'I wouldn't be surprised if she shot a low number tomorrow, even in bad weather,' said Leta Lindley, one of five players at 3 under on Thursday. 'It's only one round. A lot can happen in three more rounds. I would not count her out, by any means.'
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - Michelob Ultra Open

  • Full Coverage - Michelob Ultra Open