Annika Up Against Tough Field

By Lpga Tour MediaNovember 15, 2004, 5:00 pm
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The 2004 LPGA season ends this week with one of the most exclusive events on tour. An elite field will gather at the pristine Trump International Golf Club to compete for $1 million in prize money at the ADT Championship.
 
The best players in the world are competing as the field includes only the top-30 players from the ADT official money list.
 
The name at the top of that list for the fourth consecutive year is Annika Sorenstam, but the 34-year-old is not the defending champion this week. That honor belongs to Meg Mallon, who with three wins this year is looking to put the bow on an already finely wrapped season.
 
During the summer, Mallon went through a stretch of winning three of five events in which she competed. Her streak began at the U.S. Women's Open conducted by the USGA, where she played the weekend at 10-under-par to win her second national championship.
 
A week later, Mallon captured the BMO Financial Group Canadian Women's Open, and two weeks after that, she won the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger.
 
A win this week would be Mallon's fourth title of the year, something she has only done once before, 13 years ago in 1991. But of course, a victory at the ADT Championship will be more difficult than just putting a tee in the ground and the ball in the hole, as 29 other players and a difficult golf course will serve as worthy adversaries to Mallon.
 
The first of those 'other' 29 players is Sorenstam, who comes into this week with wins in three of her last five LPGA events played. Sorenstam is a two-time champion of the ADT Championship, and a win this week would be her eighth of the season.
 
Sorenstam is enjoying her second-best season on the LPGA Tour financially, and is aiming to equal her number of wins from 2001. Sorenstam won 11 events in 2002 and amassed more than $2.8 million for her best year on Tour.
 
Grace Park, who is ranked second on the ADT Official Money List, is a multiple winner this year and has been playing some great golf recently. Park won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in March and put the additional bookend on a fine season when she won the CJ Nine Bridges Classic Presented by Sports Today last month in Korea.
 
Park is also locked in a heated battle for the Vare Trophy, which goes to the player with the lowest scoring average with a minimum of 70 rounds played. Park enters the week with a 69.86 scoring average, just .04 less than two-time tournament champion Lorena Ochoa (69.90).
 
In addition to challenging for the Vare Trophy, Ochoa is sure to be a threat for the ADT Championship trophy as well. Ochoa, ranked third on the ADT Official Money List, brings an aggressive style of play that has produced LPGA season records in birdies (417), eagles (20), rounds in the 60s (50) and rounds under par (74) to Trump International. Ochoa is one of the most consistent players on Tour with two wins and an additional 16 top-10 finishes in 2004.
 
There are 18 international players in the field including Shi Hyun Ahn, winner of the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award. Ahn and Aree Song, also from Korea, are the only two rookies in the field. Other first-timers include Weetabix Women's British Open champion Karen Stupples, Longs Drugs Challenge champion Christina Kim, Wegmans Rochester LPGA Presented by Lincoln Mercury champion Kim Saiki and Stacy Prammanasudh.
 
Prammanasudh, 31st on the ADT Official Money List, and Sherri Steinhauer
(32) are competing this week because Mi Hyun Kim (7) and Se Ri Pak (9) withdrew due to injury.
 
Last year, Mallon entered the final round trailing Sorenstam by three shots.
Sorenstam increased the lead to four on the front nine, but could not withstand a birdie barrage by Mallon coming home. Mallon played the back nine at 5-under-par 31 to surge past Sorenstam and win by one stroke. Sorenstam missed a 10-foot par putt on 18 to force a sudden-death playoff.
 
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    Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

    Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

    Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

    “The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.

     

     

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    Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

    Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

    She wondered if there would be resentment.

    She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

    “I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

    PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

    Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

    She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

    Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

    “It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

    Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

    He waved Lincicome over.

    “He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

    Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

    “The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

    Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

    Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

    “I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

    Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

    Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

    Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

    What are Lincicome’s expectations?

    She would love to make the cut, but . . .

    “Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

    Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

    “I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

    Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

    Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

    As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

    “The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

    Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

    The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

    “She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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    Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

    There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

    Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

    She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

    It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

    Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

    "It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

    Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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    Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

    Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

    “I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”


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    Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

    “It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

    The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

    “All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”