Sorenstam Moves On Ochoa Gulbis Bounced

By Sports NetworkJune 30, 2005, 4:00 pm
GLADSTONE, N.J. -- Annika Sorenstam may have missed out on the single-season Grand Slam last week at the U.S. Women's Open, but she is still alive so far this week.
 
Sorenstam, the No. 1 seed, posted a 2 and 1 victory over Joanne Morley in their first-round match Thursday at the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam was all smiles on Thursday as she moved into the second round of the HSBC World Match Play Championship.
Cristie Kerr, ranked second, defeated Lindsey Wright, 2 and 1.
 
Lorena Ochoa, the No. 3 player in the field, continued her disastrous play from Cherry Hills last week. On the 72nd hole of the U.S. Women's Open, she carded a quadruple-bogey when a par would have put her in a playoff.
 
On Thursday, she was the highest-ranked player knocked out as Laurie Rinker bested her, 2 and 1.
 
Natalie Gulbis, the fifth seed, was ousted by 60th-seeded Marisa Baena, 1-up.
 
Birdie Kim, who holed out from a bunker on the final hole to win the U.S. Women's Open, fell to 59th-seeded Sophie Gustafson, 1-up.
 
Sorenstam fell 1-down after Morley birdied the seventh hole, but the Swede evened things with an 8-foot birdie at No. 8. Morley bogeyed the 13th to give Sorenstam a 1-up lead and the top-money winner on tour padded her edge with a birdie at 15 when her 8-iron approach stopped 10 feet from the hole.
 
The two traded pars at 16 and 17, giving Sorenstam the first-round win.
 
'I just try to mind my own game, hit one shot at a time and kind of stay in the present,' said Sorenstam. 'I felt she played pretty good today. it was quite some good golf I thought in the group, very consistent throughout.'
 
Sorenstam gets 32nd-ranked Tina Barrett on Friday. Barrett bounced Young Kim in the first round, 5 and 3.
 
Kerr took command early with wins at four, six and eight. Wright rebounded with victories at nine and 10, but Kerr re-established a 2-up advantage with a birdie win at No. 11.
 
Kerr birdied the next par-5, the 14th, to go 3-up. Wright fought back with a birdie at the 16th, but when the pair parred the 17th, Kerr advanced to the second round.
 
'I won 2-up, but I played very well,' admitted Kerr. 'I was 4- or 5 under for the day. I made six birdies. She played very, very well. You have to play well to win.'
 
Kerr will next face Liselotte Neumann, who moved on with a 4 and 3 thumping of Moira Dunn.
 
Ochoa and Rinker were tied until Rinker birdied the 14th to go 1-up. Rinker added another birdie at the 15th to take control, but she bogeyed the 16th. Ochoa was 1-down, but Rinker closed the door with a birdie at 17 and a 2 and 1 victory.
 
'I played really good, but didn't make any putts,' admitted Ochoa. 'She made a a couple of really good putts for birdie and for par. That was the difference.'
 
Rinker will take on Christina Kim in the second round. Christina Kim defeated reigning Women's British Open champion Karen Stupples, 3 and 2 in the final first-round match.
 
Baena sank a 3-footer on the last hole to trip Gulbis, while Gustafson was a foot closer on her putt that stopped Kim.
 
Baena will take on Grace Park in Friday's second round. Park, No. 37, advanced thanks to a 2 and 1 win over Michele Redman. Gustafsson gets 38th-seeded Shi Hyun Ahn, who bested Karine Icher, 2 and 1.
 
Paula Creamer, the four seed, easily dispatched Maria Hjorth, 4 and 3. That sets the 18-year-old up with one of the most interesting second-round matches. She will play Karrie Webb, a 3 and 2 winner over Soo-Yun Kang.
 
In Thursday's first match, 58th-seeded Wendy Doolan defeated No. 7 Rosie Jones, 2 and 1. Doolan will face Pat Hurst, the 39th-ranked player, in the second round after Hurst stopped Jimin Kang, 2-up.
 
American Hall of Famers Beth Daniel and Juli Inkster were triumphant on Thursday. Daniel, the 53rd-ranked player in the field, clobbered Lorie Kane, 5 and 4 and Inkster, seeded 11th, topped Sung Ah Yim, 3 and 1.
 
Daniel will battle 21st seed, Jennifer Rosales in the second round. Rosales was a 1-up winner over Angela Stanford in the opening round. Inkster drew Ai Miyazato, who is in the field because she is the leading money winner on the Japanese LPGA Tour. Miyazato moved on after a 2 and 1 victory over Laura Diaz.
 
Amateur Shinobu Moromizato beat Emilee Klein, 2-up, to set up a second-round match with 13th-ranked Jeong Jang, who defeated Reilley Rankin 4 and 3 on Thursday.
 
Candie Kung, No. 8, topped Candy Hannemann, 2 and 1. Kung will play Leta Lindley, the 40th seed who stopped Stacy Prammanasudh, 2 and 1.
 
Gloria Park, the only other top-10 player who advanced on Thursday, meets Nicole Perrot on Friday. Perrot, who held the second-round lead at Cherry Hills, is 42nd in the field, but upset 23rd-rated Jill McGill, 5 and 3.
 
A.J. Eathorne, No. 56, needed 21 holes to defeat No. 9 Catriona Matthew, 1-up. Eathorne squares off with Dorothy Delasin on Friday as Delasin trumped 24th- seeded Heather Bowie, 3 and 2.
 
Kim Saiki, 50th in the field, clobbered 15th-ranked Laura Davies, 6 and 4. Saiki gets Meena Lee, No. 47, as Lee slipped by Hee-Won Han, 1-up in 19 holes.
 
Mi Hyun Kim posted a 4 and 2 victory over Meg Mallon, 49th in the tournament. Kim will meet Rachel Hetherington, No. 48, who advanced thanks to a 2-up victory over sponsors' exemption, Se Ri Pak.
 
Wendy Ward, ranked 14th, won 3 and 1 against Joo Mi Kim and that got her a second-round battle with 46th-ranked Silvia Cavalleri, who eliminated Carin Koch, 1-up on the second extra hole.
 
Related links:
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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.


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    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”

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    Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:46 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.

    McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.

    “I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”


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    The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.

    “There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”

    He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.

    “I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”

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    Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:08 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.

    Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.

    Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.


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    It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.

    “If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”

    Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.

    “It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”

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    Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 8:53 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.

    Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.

    Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.

    “It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”


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    Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.

    “I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”

    Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.

    “If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”