Annika Sorenstam, her short game back in the groove, shot a 4-under 68 Friday to take the first-round lead in the Office Depot Championship. \nAccurate around and on the greens on a day when the putting surface was especially tricky, Sorenstam was one shot in front of Jill McGill and Meg Mallon in the 54-hole event. \nSorenstam, the tournament champion two of the past three years, was among only 11 players to better par as the course took a heavy toll on some others. \nKarrie Webb, a two-time LPGA player of the year and winner of six majors, started off with a bogey and kept going downhill on the way to an 81 -- her worst round since she joined the tour in 1996. \nThe 1999 tournament champion, Webb finished her opening round this time with eight bogeys, a double bogey and a triple bogey. \nLaura Diaz fared even worse, struggling to an 82 that left her tied for 138th in the 144-player field. \nLast week's Kraft Nabisco winner, Grace Park, was in contention with a 73 that left her tied for 22nd. Se Ri Pak, who beat Sorenstam by one shot to win the Los Angeles title two years ago, had a first-round 74 and was tied for 31st. \nSorenstam was coming off a 13th-place finish in the Kraft Nabisco, the LPGA's first major of the year. She didn't have her short game -- which has carried her to 49 career wins -- working last week. \nHer touch is back. \nSorenstam hit just 11 greens in regulation at El Caballero Country Club, but her approach shots gave her four birdie putts from 8 feet and closer that she made. She also rolled in a 12-footer for birdie on her sixth hole, and sank a twisting 31-footer on her 17th. \nShe smiled and waved to acknowledge the gallery's applause after making the long putt. \nSorenstam, the tournament winner in 2001 at Wilshire Country Club and 2003 at El Caballero, seems at home on the stately old course with vast, difficult to read greens. \n"I do think I love this place," she said. \n"I putted very well today; I saw the lines. The greens are so undulating and tricky. \n"Last week I just lost the touch -- or something happened.'' \nShe shook her head and added, "So who knows what this game is all about." \nShe began her round on the back side and her only bogey came when she three-putted on the 369-yard par 4 No. 13, missing her par try from 8 feet. She later missed another 8-footer that cost her a birdie. \nShe could live with the misses. \n"There is always one here, one there, should have, could have, would have," she said. "I made some good saves all around, so I'm not going to complain. \n"If I make the short ones, it's OK if one or two slip by." \nFifteen players, none within striking distance of the lead, did not complete the first round. Play was suspended because of darkness.
Two women yesterday morning attempted to hang a banner from the Acropolis in Athens in protest at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, but were detained by Greek police. The women, 18-year-old Tibetan student Tsela Zoksang and 22-year-old exiled Hong Konger Joey Siu (邵嵐), both US citizens, are members of the “No Beijing 2022” campaign, a statement from the New York-based organization Students for a Free Tibet said. They, and a third person, entered the archeological site as paying customers, and then Zoksang and Siu climbed some scaffolding, from which they attempted to unfurl the banner. A security officer rushed to them and took
TREBLE CHANCE: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is eyeing a third title in the California desert after winning in 2014 with Peng Shuai and in 2018 with Barbora Strycova Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Belgian partner Elise Mertens on Thursday cruised into the women’s doubles final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. It took second seeds Hsieh and Mertens just 54 minutes to defeat Japanese third seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara 6-2, 6-0 in the semi-finals to advance to their second final as a duo. Hsieh and Mertens denied the Japanese duo, winners of a WTA Tour-best five titles this year, a spot in their sixth final of the season as they broke serve five times and won the final nine games. “We’re very happy about the performance. Just
It is the world’s longest certified foot race: a 4,989km run that takes participants around the same New York block 5,649 times. Thousands of people have climbed Everest — but just 49 have completed the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race, organizers say. Runners finish more than two marathons a day for almost two months, on less than five hours of sleep a night. They cannot rely on changing scenery to keep them motivated as the route is a 883m loop on a concrete sidewalk around a high school in Jamaica, Queens. To mix things up a bit, they alternate between running clockwise
Sean Wainui, a rising star of Super Rugby with the Hamilton, New Zealand-based Chiefs, died yesterday in an automobile accident. He was 25 and the father of two children. His death was confirmed by family members and by New Zealand Rugby, which said “one of New Zealand Rugby’s tallest Totara trees has fallen.” Wainui played 44 matches for the Chiefs from 2018. He also played nine times for the Christchurch-based Crusaders and was a New Zealand Maori representative from 2015. Wainui scored five tries for the Chiefs against the New South Wales Waratahs in June, a Super Rugby record. Police said they were notified