Sorenstam Quietly Wins Eight Again
She had eight last season. Shes batting just about .500 this year, winning a tournament almost every other time she tees it up. And she still has five tournaments left in her season.
And the answer to the lack of hoopla question is ' I dont know. Is it the fault of the LPGA publicity machine? Is it the fault of us in the media? Is it the fault of you the golfing public? Is it the fault of her basically reserved personality? Is it because of the male perception of womens athletics? Is it the Tiger Factor?
Is it because we are all blind to whats right there before our noses? Yeah, in a nutshell. Sorenstam is very good. Sorenstam is very underrated. Sorenstam is one of the greatest athletes to ever put on a show for public consumption.
Sorenstam, despite her average size, is one of the LPGAs longest drivers at more than 264 yards. That ranks her No. 7. And despite her length, she still is fourth among women in fairways hit. That combination alone of length and accuracy is enough to put her among the most prodigious women in history.
But theres more. She ranks first on the womens tour in greens in regulation. So obviously, shes a very sharp iron player. Her only shortcoming is putting. She ranks 56th there, not bad, really, considering she hits so many greens. But there are about 50 or so women who are better putters. If she putted as well as she hits her irons and woods, who knows how many wins she would have. Fourteen out of 17? Seventeen out of 17?
Sorenstam really has no peer when it comes to womens golf. She has eight wins and the No. 2 player, Se Ri Pak, has three. Case closed. Slam the books shut and lets go home.
After her win Sunday, Annika could have gone another 18 in a playoff and been as fresh as when she first started. The day before, when she shot a 62, she approached it like just another day at the office ' even like the 59 she shot last year.
It pays to practice, it pays to grind, she said. I mean, I feel very comfortable.
When I was 10-under, I wasnt nervous, I wasnt stressed by any means. Not that I shoot 62 very often, but shooting 59 was the biggest thing in my career. It doesnt scare me to make a lot of birdies anymore, and I think thats very important. I wasnt thinking too much about my score, I was focusing on each shot and my mind was clear.
Making a birdie after even more birdies, of course, scares some people. It used to scare her, too, she confessed. Until you think you should make 10 birdies in a round, you wont. Making too many makes most people uncomfortable. She realized it when she was still a junior golfer in Sweden and she was on the verge of breaking 80 for the first time.
I needed to par in, she said, and I bogeyed in. You get nervous because youre breaking your own records.
The first time I broke 70, I remember that it took several times until I was just comfortable parring in. (You have to get) in a comfort zone. You know, if you need a par and youre not used to it, I used to get nervous. Thats why I am comfortable now, because Ive been here before.
Last weeks win was her third in succession, following the Williams Championship and the Compaq Classic, which was played in Sweden and is not official. Sorenstam has finished first, second or third in every tournament but three (l4). She tied for seventh in the Welchs/ Circle K, finished well down in a tie for 59th at the Office Depot, and missed the cut in the Womens British Open.
Sorenstam won eight last season while playing 26 times of the LPGA. Shes totaled that many wins this year while playing nine fewer times. Eight wins in just 17 events? Youve got to be kidding!
When I made that putt (an 11-footer on the last hole to beat Kate Golden), I felt some tears coming down my cheeks, she said. I knew what this would mean. This means a lot to me.
Sorenstam is more than happy to grind out victories in relatively anonymity. She has never complained over the lack of hullabaloo. She goes out and wins, she comes back home to her husband, and it doesnt seem to matter to her that her successes are largely ignored. Its all about being the Tiger Woods of the LPGA, I guess.
But she doesnt mind. No, I dont, said Annika with a smile. I do wish theyd call him the Annika Sorenstam of the PGA Tour sometimes too, though.
Down seven pounds, Thomas can gain No. 1
AUSTIN, Texas – On March 7, Justin Thomas had his wisdom teeth removed, and just when he was recovering from that, he was slowed by a bout with the flu.
In total, he estimates he lost about seven pounds, and he admitted on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play the event.
“I had a pretty serious conversation with my dad on Monday if I was going to play,” Thomas said. “I never want to play in a tournament, first off, if it's going to hurt my health. If I was sick or really sick, me trying to play this week wasn't going to do me any good.”
Thomas went on to explain he was “50/50” whether he’d play the World Golf Championship, but decided to make the start and it’s turned out well for the world’s second-ranked player.
After going undefeated in pool play, Thomas cruised past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the round of 16 and secured himself a spot in the semifinals with a 2-and-1 victory over Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals. If Thomas wins his semifinal match against Bubba Watson on Sunday, he’s assured enough points to overtake Dustin Johnson atop the Official World Golf Ranking.
“I don't care when it happens; I just hope it happens and it happens for a while,” Thomas said when asked about the possibility of becoming world No. 1. “I don't know what to say because I've never experienced it. I don't know what's going to come with it. But I just hope it happens tomorrow.”
Garnett's six-shot lead dwindles to two in Punta Cana
PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic - Brice Garnett took a six-stroke lead into the wind Saturday in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. He came out with a two-stroke advantage.
Garnett bogeyed three of the final six holes in the wind and rain for a 3-under 69 and a 16-under 200 total.
''Once we made the turn coming back, all those holes coming in toward the north, it was all we wanted and then some,'' Garnett said. ''I kind of took advantage of some holes going out, some holes downwind, some par 5s, and then we were just trying to leave it in the right spot those last four or five holes. Pars are pretty good scores on those holes.''
Canadian Corey Conners was second after a 67, and Tyler McCumber also had a 67 to get to 12 under. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo dropped out Friday, finishing last in the 132-man field in his PGA Tour debut. He shot 77-82 playing as an amateur on a sponsor exemption.
A stroke ahead after each of the first two rounds, Garnett opened with a bogey, birdied Nos. 2, 4 and 6, eagled the par-5 seventh, and made two more birdies on the par-3 ninth and par-5 12th. He bogeyed the par-4 13th, par-5 15th and par-3 17th.
''I looked once and the lead was a little bigger than what it is now,'' Garnett said. ''The eagle was huge, kind of gave me that confidence that I can push it on out and stretch it a little bit more. That wind was tough and I'll take a two-shot lead into tomorrow.''
The 34-year-old Garnett is winless on the PGA Tour. He won twice last year on the Web.com Tour.
''You've got another 18 holes. So much can happen,'' Garnett said. ''Just going to try to keep the golf ball in front of me. I have that self-belief this week and that's what I had last year when I won, so I'll just keep my head down and just keep going.''
Conners had five birdies and a bogey on the front nine and added a birdie on No. 12.
''Really happy with the round,'' Conners said. ''I got off to a nice start, made a bunch of birdies on the front nine and kind of held it together on the back nine. It was playing really difficult. The wind was really blowing out there, made things challenging.''
McCumber, the son of 10-time PGA Tour winner Mark McCumber, has played his last 39 holes with a bogey.
''Second shots have been pretty solid,'' McCumber said. ''Putting pretty well, short game is pretty good. Just really being in the right areas and staying below the hole.''
Tom Lovelady was fourth at 11 under after a 68. Seamus Power (71), Denny McCarthy (71) and Seungsu Han (72) were 10 under.
Poulter incorrectly told he's in Masters before loss to Kisner
AUSTIN, Texas – Ian Poulter was not happy, and it was only partially because of his blowout loss to Kevin Kisner in Saturday’s quarterfinals at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Following his morning victory in the round of 16 over Louis Oosthuizen, the Englishman was incorrectly informed that by making it to the Elite 8 at Austin Country Club he was assured enough Official World Golf Raking points to move into the top 50 and qualify for the Masters in two weeks.
“I should never listen to other people,” Poulter said following his 8-and-6 loss to Kevin Kisner in the quarterfinals. “When you finish a round of golf and the press and everybody is telling you you're in the Masters, and then you get a text message 10 minutes before you tee off to correct everybody, to say, ‘Oh, we've made a mistake, actually, no, that was wrong, you're not in. You need to go and win.’
“Not that that's an excuse in any form or factor, it's a little disappointing.”
Poulter actually needed to advance to the semifinal round to move into the top 50. Instead, his last chance to qualify for the Masters is to win next week’s Houston Open, although he was unsure if he’d play the event.
“I don't know yet, I haven't decided,” said Poulter when asked if he’d play next week. “I'm tired. It's been a long week. It's been a draining week. I'll wait until Monday night and if I have the energy then I will.”
Not DJ, not Poulter: Kisner most proud to take down Kuchar
AUSTIN, Texas – On his way to this week’s Final Four at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Kevin Kisner has beaten world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and the European match play ninja Ian Poulter. But neither match could compare to his duel with Matt Kuchar early Saturday.
“I was more jacked to beat [Kuchar], really. Kuch is such a good player and our games are so similar,” said Kisner, who defeated Kuchar in the round of 16, 1 up. “We both made eight birdies this morning and I barely snuck out of there. I thought it was a lot of fun.”
By comparison, his quarterfinal bout against Poulter wasn’t nearly as electric. Kisner won two of the first four holes when the Englishman made bogey (No. 3) and when he was conceded the fourth hole, hecruised to an 8-and-6 victory for the week’s most lopsided win.
“I don't know Ian that well, so I don't really have a history with him, other than watching him kill us in the Ryder Cup,” Kisner laughed.
Things won’t get any easier for Kisner on Sunday when he’ll play Alex Noren in the semifinals. The Swede has been dominant this week and is considered one of Europe’s top players heading into this year’s Ryder Cup.