Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sorenstam Rips Through Canyons Course

Annika Sorenstam shows her finesse at Bighorn Golf Club after defeating 19 top golfers on the LPGA tour.

At the Samsung World Championship Annika Sorenstam quietly climbed the leaderboard while all eyes were fixed upon young phenom Michelle Wie. Sunday confirmed Annika's right to sit atop the LPGA throne while the remainder of the pack stood eight strokes behind.

A final round 69 gave the Swede her third victory this year and ninth overall in which she has clobbered the competition with an eight-stroke or better advantage.

As Sorenstam strode confidently along the fairways and greens of the Canyons Course others like Michelle Wie were having their difficulties. Wie looked somewhat amateurish as she lost her grip several times taking several unplayable lies without asking rules officials about her concerns. She did ask for help on two occasions. Okay so Michelle is just sixteen and still learning.

Wie went a bit too far on Saturday as she took a drop from an unplayable lie after alerting Grace Park. Although Michelle didn't realize it her ball landed nearer to the hole after her drop. She went on to save par but was alerted to the infraction on Sunday after the end of play after Sports Illustrated writer Michael Bamberger spoke to tour officials about it. After reviewing the tape both Wie and her caddy were escorted back to the seventh hole and the scene was recreated to prove that Wie was slightly closer to the hole. This resulted in a DQ for Wie on Sunday causing her possible fourth place finish (and $53,126) to be deleted from the record books. Let's hope the newly-crowned darling of Nike has now learned her lesson to always ask for assistance when contemplating the Rules of Golf.

"I learned a great lesson" said Wie, choking back tears. "From now on I'll call a rules official no matter where it is, whether its three inches or 100 yards."

Even though the media dubbed this tournament "The Michelle Wie Show" it was evident that no one could catch the number-one golfer in the world. Annika clearly had the lead and kept it even though the ladies were almost rained out after the completion of an almost eight-hour round.

Annika had all the right shots in her bag. Her winning ways increased the lead to nine strokes over Gloria Park at the turn on Sunday. Nobody even tried to stop Sorenstam. They were all busy chasing solo second place which finally went to number-two golfer on tour Paula Creamer.

Paula played steady golf this weekend despite not being showered with attention. I know that the ladies love the spotlight so I'm glad the Pink Panther kept her head and played evenly throughout. Creamer's final round 70 beat out Gloria Park by one stroke for solo second place. I think that the wedge for eagle on the 12th hole inspired her to finish strong.

Gloria Park didn't have a great Sunday in contrast to Creamer's comfortable round. Gloria's final round 74 ended with a disappointing bogey.

Natalie Gulbis finished tied for fourth place along with Meena Lee and Cristie Kerr. Lorena Ochoa was found in the middle of the pack once again and Birdie Kim, 2005 U.S. Open winner, can be found at the bottom of the list tied with Heather Bowie separated by seventeen strokes from Annika Sorenstam.

But young Paula Creamer summed up Sorenstam's victory best by saying, "She's probably sending a statement to the world that says, "I'm here. I'm still the best player."

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