Annika Sorenstam returns to LPGA for a tourney at home course

Orlando, Fla. – Annika Sorenstam It is not difficult to remember golf.

She still smiled a lot when the most prominent player of her round on Thursday played her first LPGA Tour event in more than 12 years. With a birdie and a nasty hole, Sorenstem shot 3-over-75 at the LPGA Gainbridge, on Lake Nona in his home field.

“It seems a bit more stressful, this kind of golf,” she said.

Sorenstam was 10 shots behind another Lake Nones member, Lydia Ko, who opened with a two-shot 7-under 65.

But, this week Sorenstam is not about joining his 72 career victories or making a comeback at the age of 50. The LPGA Tour came to her house and she wanted to play.

With quick-to-hear turn and tee shots, which were not found on the frequent fareways, it did not appear that Sorenstem had pulled away from the LPGA Tour on November 23, 2008, when he made a three-win debut He was retired after the season. family.

It was the rest of the game that felt so foreign.

“I could be more aggressive on the putts, I could be more aggressive on the iron shots,” she said. “I am at a point in my life that it is not automatic. This is not a pin-seeker the way it was. Now it is more green-seeker. I did it. A bit more stressful golf, but overall, it’s fun. “

Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam
Getty Images

Members of Lake Nona and some family guests were allowed, and Sorenstam found that about 150 people had gathered around the first tee. This constitutes a large crowd in the COVID-19 epidemic era.

“I was very nervous. “I was nervous for a few days,” Sorenstam said.

The highlight was a keel wedge at about 95 yards on the 14th hole that landed about 10 feet behind the hole and spun a foot away for a tap-in birdie.

Sorenstam had said that she could play 14 holes fine but there was some surprise on the other four. He was surprised on only one Thursday, but it was a big one.

Opening with four pars, he drew his tee shot to the fifth hole so that he settled directly under the iron fence gate. Rule officials had determined that it was a “game by a dimple”. Sorenstam asked if she could open the gate to play the shot, but it was not allowed.

And then he almost made a second mistake. He was reminded that the drop was knee-length, not shoulder-length. Golf rules have been updated three times since he last played, the major overhaul coming two years ago.

“I have not studied the rules in 13 years. Rules are not a part of my life right now, ”she said with a laugh.

After a penalty drop, he hit it back towards the fairway about 70 yards, hit a simple wedge and stretched the three bogeys to a triple bogey for about 18 feet.

“I can’t remember the last time I made a triple bogey,” she said.

Sorenstam also made a three-put at No. 10, and she failed to fail any of the 5 birds. The battle was clear. At her prime, Sorenstam’s caddy used to in the middle of the driving range with a baseball game to catch her full swings with a nail or 9-iron, and she rarely had to move.

In the competition, with a scorecard in hand, Sorenstam was temporary and rarely saw himself as good at Birdy. It was to be expected, and if she wanted to play the weekend she would have to improve.

“I didn’t hit it for long,” he said, and it was clear that Madeline Sagstrom hit him some 60 yards from the tee at some point. “I have always put on another gear. I don’t even know if I have a gear right now. “

Sorenstam still understands that she has more than a grind for controversy this week.

Before going to the first tee, she posed for photos with family and friends, including a selfie with a person. She stops not far from her house – along the 15th fairway – to hug her daughter (Ava) and son (Will) when they were done with the school and come out to watch.

She played alongside two other Sweedes, Anna Nordkvist and Sagerstrom, whom she has known since she was a junior. After signing his card, he needed a picture with Sorenstam.

It was a formal experience, and it was fine with Sorenstem.

“I’m in a different place with my game,” he said. “When I talk to my friends, they say, ‘This is golf for all of us.” Well, it was never for me, ”said Sorenstam. “It was a bit of a rollercoaster. It makes you a little more than just staying on your toes. “

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