Sorenstam Fires 62 for State Farm Victory

By Sports NetworkSeptember 3, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 State Farm ClassicSPRINGFIELD, Ill. ' Annika Sorenstam won the State Farm Classic on Sunday with her lowest round in more than three years.
 
Sorenstam had 10 birdies in a bogey-free round, making the last on a 35-foot putt from the fringe at the 18th green to finish off a 10-under 62. She ended at 19-under-par 269 to win by two shots over Cristie Kerr.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam fired a final-round 10-under 62 for the victory.
It was career win No. 69 for the top-ranked Swede and her third victory of the season, the last coming when she beat Pat Hurst in a playoff at the U.S. Women's Open in July.
 
Playing in this event for the first time in five years, Sorenstam equaled the course record previously held by three other players.
 
She also had her best round since shooting 62 in the first round of the 2003 Kellogg-Keebler Classic, which she went on to win.
 
'I knew I had to go low,' said Sorenstam, who also has rounds of 59 and 61 in her career. 'I was chasing some great players.'
 
Sorenstam collected two separate checks: $195,000 for winning the tournament and $250,000 for claiming the State Farm LPGA Series, a bonus pool check awarded to the best finisher in a seven-tournament series.
 
'I'm a little overwhelmed,' she said. 'I played well today, but I didn't expect all of this.'
 
Sorenstam began the day five shots off Maria Hjorth's third-round lead and started with a bang by making birdies on four of her first five holes -- a stretch that put her at 13-under around the turn.
 
She tied Hjorth at 16-under after making birdies at 11, 12 and 14 -- the last two coming on a great bunker save at the 12th and a 14-foot putt at the 14th.
 
Then, at the 15th, Sorenstam lagged an eagle putt within three feet to set up a birdie that gave her a one-shot lead on Hjorth.
 
Hjorth tied her again with a birdie at the 15th, but Sorenstam finished with two birdies to take a two-shot lead -- first draining an 18-foot birdie putt at the 17th, then rolling in a no-doubt-about-it, 35-footer at the 18th.
 
'It doesn't get much better than that,' Sorenstam said of finishing birdie-birdie.
 
Two threesomes remained on the course, but no one caught fire.
 
Unlike what happened in 2001, the last time Sorenstam played this event, when she carried a lead into the final round only to be defeated by Kate Golden, who shot a 63.
 
This time, it was Sorenstam who charged back with the low score -- her first sub-68 round since early June, when she bookended a second-round 69 at the ShopRite Classic with rounds of 64 and 67 to finish tied for second.
 
Sorenstam admitted, even with her 62, that she was surprised to win.
 
'I mean, I did play well today,' she said, 'but there was so many great players ahead of me.'
 
Before this week, Sorenstam hadn't played an LPGA Tour event since tying for 31st at the Women's British Open last month.
 
She is now third on the LPGA Tour's money list with more than $1.57 million, behind the other three-time winners this season, Lorena Ochoa and Karrie Webb.
 
Kerr birdied three straight holes from the 14th and closed with a five-under 67 to take second place at 17-under 271.
 
Hjorth had a double-bogey at the 16th, then birdied the 18th to shoot 70 and share third place with Seon-Hwa Lee and Il Mi Chung at 16-under 272. Lee and Chung both closed with 69.
 
Brittany Lang (66), Nancy Scranton (69) and Kyeong Bae (68) tied for sixth place, one shot further back at 273.
 
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    NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 11:00 am

    The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

    After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

    Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

    Scoring:

    TV Times (all times ET):

    Wednesday
    4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)

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    Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

    By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

    STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

    Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

    The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

    “Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

    Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

    “I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

    Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.


    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


    Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

    “They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

    After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

    And the Wildcats better rest up.

    Alabama looks unstoppable.

    “They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

    Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

    After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

    They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

    Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

    “It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

    They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

    “We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

    That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

    The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

    “They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

    It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

    Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

    They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

    Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

    “I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

    Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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    Pairings, tee times set for championship match

    By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

    STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

    Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

    “We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

    Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

    Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

    Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

    “Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.


    Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

    3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

    3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

    3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

    3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

    4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

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    Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

    By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

    STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

    Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

    Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.


    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


    Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

    Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

    Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

    “I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

    Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”