Sat, Jul 02, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Annika wins Round 1 of match play


Annika Sorenstam of Sweden tees off on the 17th hole during her match against Joanne Morley in the LPGA Match Play Championship in Gladstone, New Jersey on Thursday. Sorenstam parred the hole to beat Morley 2 and 1.


Annika Sorenstam overcame an early deficit to beat Joanne Morley 2 and 1 on Thursday in the first round of the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship.

"I had a little difficulty with the speed of the greens," Sorenstam said. "I thought they were quite slow after the rain yesterday. ... Coming from really fast greens to really slow was tough. They are in good shape. I just got to hit the putts a lot harder."

After Morley birdied the par-3 seventh to take a one-hole lead, Sorenstam squared the match with a birdie on the par-4 eighth. Sorenstam pulled ahead with a two-putt par on the par-4 13th, increased her margin to two holes with a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-4 15th and parred the 16th and 17th to end the match.

"She made some great shots," said Sorenstam, who teamed with Morley on Europe's 1996 Solheim Cup team. ``Match play is so different. In match play, you only have 18 holes, and sometimes not that many.''

The Swede will face 32nd-seeded Tina Barrett -- a 5-and-3 winner over Young Kim -- in the second round. The tournament will then turn into an endurance test in the sweltering conditions, with the third round and quarterfinals set for Saturday and the semifinals and final Sunday on Hamilton Farm's hilly Highlands Course.

"It was hot, very steamy," Sorenstam said.

Second-seeded Cristie Kerr also advanced, beating Lindsey Wright 2 and 1. Kerr, the Michelob Ultra Open winner early last month, will face Liselotte Neumann on Friday. Neumann beat Moira Dunn 4 and 3.

Third-seeded Lorena Ochoa dropped out, falling 2 and 1 to No. 62 Laurie Rinker.

Fifth-seeded Natalie Gulbis and the sixth-seeded Birdie Kim also were eliminated, with each falling 1-up on the par-4 18th hole after their opponents hit approach shots within short birdie range. European Solheim Cup player Sophie Gustafson holed a 2-footer to beat Kim, and Marisa Baena knocked out Gulbis with a 3-foot putt.

Fourth-seeded Paula Creamer beat Maria Hjorth 4 and 3 to set up a second-round match against slumping Australian star Karrie Webb.

Creamer, the 18-year-old Californian who graduated from high school four days after winning the Sybase Classic last month to become the second-youngest winner in LPGA Tour history, will play slumping Australian star Karrie Webb on Thursday.

Webb beat Kang Soo-yun 3 and 2.

Hall of Famers Beth Daniel and Juli Inkster, the oldest players in the field, opened with victories. The 48-year-old Daniel routed Lorie Kane 5 and 4, and the 45-year-old Inkster birdied her final four holes to beat Sung Ah-yim 3 and 1.

Inkster won four of the first five holes, but was 1-down through 13 after losing three straight and four of five. She has thrived in match play, going 4-1 in Solheim Cup singles play and winning 18 straight matches in her 1980-1982 US Women's Amateur victories.

Young Japanese players Ai Miyazato and Shinobu Moromizato advanced. The 20-year-old Miyazato beat Laura Diaz 2 and 1, and the 19-year-old Moromizato, the only amateur in the field, edged Emilee Klein 2-up. Miyazato earned a spot in the field as the Japan LPGA money leader, and Moromizato received a sponsor exemption.

Defending champion Retief Goosen put aside the disappointment of his final round collapse at the US Open to take a strong position in the first round of the European Open.

A 5-under 67, highlighted by an eagle three at the 18th, left the two-time US Open champion just a stroke behind the leader -- fellow South African Trevor Immelman.

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