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‘Half Victory’ of Sorenstam

Posted May. 23, 2003 22:17,   


Sorenstam simultaneously showed the ‘possibility’ and the ‘limitations’.

The first round of the U.S. PGA Tour Bank of America Colonial (Total Award of 5 million dollars), also known as the sex battle, was held at the Colonial Country Club (par 70 – 7,080 yards) in Fort Worth, Texas on May 23.

The ‘Best Woman Golfer’, Annika Sorenstam (33 years of age – Sweden), recorded one over par with 71 hits (1 birdie and 2 bogeys), and marked 73rd place among the 113 participants. Nick Price (Zimbabwe), the last year’s champion, who severely criticized Sorenstam, barely maintained his fame by recording even par (70 hits).

“I`ve been so tensed all through out the game today. There were many difficult holes for me to bear. However, I did better than I’ve expected and I’m very satisfied,” stated Sorenstam after finishing the game with over 10,000 people of gallery, surpassing the popularity of Tiger Woods. Sorenstam had a hard time explaining the rumor about her husband David Ash having infected by SARS when he actually was at the emergency room at the hospital due to severe cold symptoms.

Sorenstam`s first day recording which is just 7 points behind the leader with 6 under par with 64 hits, Lori Sabatini (The Republic of South Africa), was enough to surprise the ‘Big Boys’ of the PGA participants. Her accuracy on the driver shot, which only missed the fairway just once ranked 1st place (93%) and the accuracy for the green hit ranked 11th place (78%), which she missed just 4 times. Moreover, she displayed her competence of ‘computer shots’ at the banker by not missing not even a shot.

That she did better than predicted is the dominant remarks among the evaluations on the Sorenstam`s play. “She was a golf swing machine. I haven`t been accompanied by a player who never missed a shot in the entire 18 holes,” stated Aaron Barber (2 over par with 72 hits – United States) who was in the same team with Sorenstam. Moreover, Phil Michelson (3 under par with 37 hits – United States) complimented, “If Sorenstam keeps up her good work like she did during the first round, she is competent to compete with the male golfers.”

Nevertheless, the ‘burden of the distance’ and the critical conditions of the green compared to the LPGA course hindered Sorenstam as expected.

The situation where Sorenstam had to use long iron or wood in the holes where the male golfers purse the green with just middle irons is beyond her capability to close with ‘birdie distance’. Perhaps it is reasonable for Sorenstam to record 33 puttings, 3 hits more than her seasonal average putting (29.89 hits) of this year.

The second round (starting 1:43 pm local time on May 23) will tee off in the afternoon when the green is overly dried thus it will be even tougher for Sorenstam. It is because her focus can scatter down under the strong sun. This is why mentality is even more emphasized than techniques.

Young-Sik Ahn Jong-Seok Kim ysahn@donga.com kjs0123@donga.com