Sorenstam Tries For Safeway Triple

By Associated PressMarch 15, 2006, 5:00 pm
SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN, Ariz. -- Fresh off a victory in her first LPGA tournament of the season, Annika Sorenstam seems poised for a repeat of 2005, when she won 11 of the 21 events she entered and earned a tour-leading $2.59 million.
 
But thats not what the No. 1 woman golfer is thinking as she goes after her third consecutive Safeway International victory this week at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club. A week ago, she opened her 2006 season with a one-stroke victory in the MasterCard Classic in Huixquilucan, Mexico.
 
When you look back at 2005 and say, You know what, you won 10 times on the LPGA and once in Europe; you have to win 11 times to tie, that seems like too much pressure, Sorenstam said Wednesday. So I just want to start this year with a fresh line and just play what I can and see what happens.
 
I really dont feel a lot of pressure to perform the way I have the last three years, Sorenstam said. I just feel good about my game. I just want to come out, have a good time and get a little better here and there.
 
Its hard to imagine Sorenstam getting much better. Last year, she won her eighth Rolex Player of the Year award, passing Kathy Whitworth for the most in LPGA history.
 
In recent years it has seemed as though Sorenstams prime competition is herself'and history. Five years ago, at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix, she became the only player in LPGA history to shoot a 59. She is the only player to sweep the Player of the Year, scoring and money titles five times. Her scoring averages over the last five years have been the five best in LPGA history.
 
But the 35-year-old Sorenstam is facing a bold challenge from a wave of talented youngsters. Many of them are in the Safeway International field, including 19-year-old Paula Creamer, the 2005 LPGA Rookie of the Year, 17-year-old Morgan Pressel and 20-year-old rookie Seon Hwa Lee, who finished a stroke behind Sorenstam last week in Mexico.
 
I compare myself to the best players, Creamer said. And thats Annika right now. I look ahead of me, not behind me. And I think Annika has set standards that are very high. You know that when she is in a tournament, she is going to be in contention. And, you know, I want to be where shes at.
 
Sorenstam isnt waiting for the kids to catch her. She said she tweaked her game during the winter, straightening her putting stroke and widening her stance.
 
Sorenstam also has moved on in her personal life after divorcing David Esch, her husband of eight years.
 
I am happier on the course, Sorenstam said. I am happier off the course. Obviously thats a good balance to have.
 
The message to the youngsters is clear: Sorenstam isnt ready to concede the throne any time soon, although she is willing to share the spotlight.
 
Its a great challenge, theres no doubt about it, Sorenstam said when asked about being pushed by the tour newcomers. I think the last few years weve had a lot of young and up-and-coming players that are very good. Its nice to see that they bring some attention to the tour.
 
This is a solid group, Sorenstam said. Theres a lot more younger players coming up, and theyve got strong games and theyre making a lot of noise.
 
Indeed, Creamer and Pressel were brought to the interview tent Tuesday to accommodate growing media demands. With the spotlight focused on the younger players, Sorenstam joked that she might be able to play under the radar this year.
 
Thats unlikely. Sorenstam heads into 2006 aiming to win an unprecedented four majors in the same season.
 
I dont think thats a surprise to anyone, Sorenstam said.
 
I am going to focus on the majors. Its in the back of my mind.
 
I think what Ive got to do is just take one step at a time, one tournament at a time, trying to prepare as much as I can for the majors, Sorenstam said. I know how to win them. Ive just got to be able to do it in one year. So thats my biggest goal this year.
 
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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


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    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.