Rough finish doesn’t faze Sorenstam
Despite a double bogey at the 17th, Annika Sorenstam was downright giddy after her opening-round 70 left her only three shots off the pace after yesterday's opening round of the SBS Open.
Granted, she could be sitting in a tie for second had she not hit a wayward drive into a bunker and followed that one shot later with a poor chip that led to a two-putt double bogey. But when asked about the par-4 flub, the former world No. 1 player waved it off like an annoying fly.
"You know what, I'm not going to take one hole back," Sorenstam said. "I played excellent all day. Just one missed shot all day, so ... ."
Doesn't bother you?
"No, not a bit," Sorenstam said. "Two under, I'm very pleased. I thought it was tough today. I hit a lot of good shots, I'm very happy. It's not easy to come out after two months of break. I worked a lot on my swing. I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens. I'm very pleased. So, like I said, I'm taking a lot of positive out of today."
The 37-year-old began 2008 in style with a birdie at the first. Sure, she gave it right back at the second with a three-putt bogey, but Sorenstam went on to hit 15 greens in regulation, giving her plenty of birdie chances in windy conditions at the Turtle Bay Resort.
She converted five of them, including one at the closing hole to take some of the sting away from the six at 17. She missed a 6-footer for birdie at the par-4 14th, but came back with a 25-footer at the 16th for birdie to drop her to 3 under for her round.
Playing with defending champion Paula Creamer (70) and the stylish Natalie Gulbis (73), Sorenstam managed a clean, crisp round that could have been even better with a break or two along the way. Battling back from nagging injuries, Sorenstam is looking for her first win on the LPGA Tour since the U.S. Open in 2006.
The Swedish star did win in Dubai in December, but her drought on the LPGA circuit is 19 months, a streak she'd like to end as soon as possible. But regardless, she had fun yesterday.
"I do, I love it," Sorenstam said. "I had a good time. I'm finally hitting some shots. It's fun to know where they're going. I'm hitting greens and that's what I'm loving. "
Creamer gets a Valentine
The defending champion didn't get a box of chocolates or a dozen pink roses, but Creamer's father did remember to give her a Valentine's Day card, which made his daughter's day.
"No, nothing special," Creamer said. "My dad gave me a Valentine's Day card, which was nice of him. Score some points for dad. It was thoughtful."
Creamer opened with a 2-under 70, suffering a double bogey at the 17th just like playing partner Sorenstam. But hers was even more painful. Creamer was in the middle of the fairway, only 110 yards from the hole, before missing the green to the right, then airmailing her flop shot clear across the green to the fringe on the left side.
That chip left her 7 feet for bogey, a putt she missed. She did manage a birdie at the 18th to put her in a tie for 10th, just three shots off the pace of Kelli Kuehne, who went off early in the day to shoot her 5-under 67.
"Yes, the morning rounds, as the scorecards show, you can score and I know that," Creamer said. "So going out (today), I'm going to try to play pretty aggressive, but still take what the golf course gives me."