The Other Sorenstam Leads Corning

By Lpga Tour MediaMay 24, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Corning ClassicCORNING, N.Y. -- Charlotta Sorenstam has been teaching a lot at her famous sister's golf academy in Florida. Her fees are about to go up.
 
Sorenstam shot a bogey-free 8-under 64 on Thursday, matching her career low, to take a one-shot lead over Beth Bader after the first round of the LPGA Corning Classic.
 
Bader, who also did not make a bogey, was one shot ahead of Paula Creamer, Shi Hyun Ahn, and Jamie Hullett. Diana D'Alessio, Italian Giulia Sergas, rookie Charlotte Mayorkas, and South Koreans Hye Jung Choi and In-Kyung Kim were tied at 67.
 
Ai Miyazato of Japan, Jean Bartholomew, Grace Park and Canadians A.J. Eathorne and Lorie Kane were among a group of 14 players at 68 as more than half the field of 144 broke par on a warm, sun-splashed day with barely a breeze.
 
The long-hitting Bader took advantage of the three short par 5s on the Corning Country Club course and finally began sinking some putts on her best round of the year. She was alone at the top of the leaderboard until Sorenstam, playing in one of the final threesomes, fashioned a late charge.
 
Sorenstam, the former NCAA champion at Texas who won the 2000 Standard Register Ping for her long LPGA Tour victory, hit 15 of 17 greens in regulation and needed just 25 putts. She closed with four birdies over her final five holes to put at least a temporary end to what has been a forgettable two years.
 
In 2006, she made only four cuts in 16 tries and barely won $20,000, and this season missed the cut in the three previous events she entered, including last week's Sybase Classic after rounds of 76 and 77.
 
Three more rounds like Thursday and she'll have a good chance to join Annika as a Corning champion.
 
'I was hoping they would put a C on the board so everybody would know it's me,' Charlotta said with a big smile. 'I knew it was in me. That's why I never gave up.'
 
Although three holes were lengthened to add 56 yards to the narrow, tree-lined course, Bader's length off the tee enabled her to make tap-in birdies at Nos. 2 and 5. She also sank a 10-foot uphill birdie putt on the 510-yard 14th hole, failing to break par only on the final par-5, No. 12, which at 545 yards played 16 yards longer than a year ago.
 
'I was hitting it good and having those opportunities with short irons,' said Bader, who hit 12 of 14 fairways and made 14 greens in regulation. 'I was able to kind of pick my spots, but you have to place it in the fairways.'
 
More importantly, perhaps, Bader, in her seventh year on tour and still looking for that initial victory, made her putts.
 
'I've just missed so many,' said Bader, whose putting average of 30.09 is 78th on tour. 'It drives you bonkers. You just have to keep grinding and know these putts are going to fall.'
 
Ahn continued the solid play she's displayed since her rookie year of 2004. The South Korean had top-10 finishes in three majors in 2006 and posted three more in her first three starts this year, including a tie for fifth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
 
'Even though I've played well, the thing I want is a win,' said Ahn, who needed only 23 putts on her round. 'So I'm not real happy. I really want to have a win this week.'
 
Eathorne was relieved after what was a breakthrough day of sorts. She has struggled since a frayed ligament in her left wrist last year forced her to miss six months. But her best round in nine starts this year and first under 70, which featured her first eagle of the season, left her beaming.
 
'I got out of the box pretty good. I made it easy on myself,' said Eathorne, who has missed seven cuts. 'It's been a long time coming. It's been tough mentally. It's just nice to be able to put a round up there. You can breathe a little easier.'
 
A three-putt bogey on Eathorne's final hole, the par-4 ninth, cost her one spot on the leaderboard. Just being near the top was good enough for now.
 
'It just makes you feel good,' Eathorne said. 'I know my parents at home are probably going, 'Sweet, we can actually find her. You don't have to scroll down and scroll down.' They'll be happy.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - LPGA Corning Classic
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Woods on firing shot into crowd: 'I kept moving them back'

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:14 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It added up to another even-par round, but Tiger Woods had an eventful Friday at The Open.

    His adventure started on the second hole, when he wiped a drive into the right rough. Standing awkwardly on the side of a mound, he prepared for a quick hook but instead fired one into the crowd that was hovering near the rope line.

    “I kept moving them back,” he said. “I moved them back about 40 yards. I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around there and hit it left, and I was just trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could. It grabbed the shaft and smothered it.

    “I was very, very fortunate that I got far enough down there where I had a full wedge into the green.”

    Woods bogeyed the hole, one of four on the day, and carded four birdies in his round of 71 at Carnoustie. When he walked off the course, he was in a tie for 30th, six shots off the clubhouse lead.

    It’s the first time in five years – since the 2013 Open – that Woods has opened a major with consecutive rounds of par or better. He went on to tie for sixth that year at Muirfield.

    Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.


    Getty Images

    Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 2:13 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.

    Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.

    But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”

    Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.

    “It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”

    Getty Images

    After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.  

    In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.

    No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.

    Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.

    “I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.

    Let it go.

    Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.

    “I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”

    It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.

    During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.

    Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.

    “It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.

    McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.

    It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.

    “I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”

    The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.

    Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.

    The only thing left to do?

    Let it go.