Feb 26th, 2021
All eyes on Annika as Ko leads
Kiwi takes two shot lead at the Gainbridge LPGA
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images
The LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member made four straight pars to start the day, but disaster struck at the 5th hole, where she ran up a triple-bogey seven.
Sorenstam gathered herself and was level par for the remaining eleven holes to post a respectable three-over-par 75.
“Score-wise I would loved to have been a little better. You know, if I look at it objectively it's one hole that really messed it up. I was trying to get back at it, but I can't remember the last time I had a triple or hit it out of bounds. So that certainly put a damper in the round,” said Sorenstam.
“Overall I really had a good time. I thought the course was playing beautiful out there. Playing with Anna and Madelene was a highlight, and to have everybody here, family and friends, just doesn't get much better than that.”
It was fellow Lake Nona member Lydia Ko who lit up the day one with a seven-under-par round of 65. Ko got off to the best of all starts holing her second shot at the par four 1st hole for an eagle two.
“I hit a really good drive and then I only had gap wedge into the green. I had my sunglasses on and I saw it bounce and kind of go forward and disappear. But there is a ridge behind, so I wasn't sure if it went over the ridge or went in. I didn't want to celebrate and then look dumb and the ball is like 30 feet long,” said Ko. “It was a pleasant surprise to see that the ball was down at the bottom of the cup.”
Ko added six birdies and a single dropped shot to her first hole eagle to lead by two shots from American Nelly Korda and Nanna Koerstz Madsen of Denmark.
“I think this is probably my best score around here. Normally when I'm playing I don't really count everything. The last few rounds I played with a few other players just before this week, so I kind of took my score, because you kind of have to get used to making sure that every shot counts,” said Ko.
Both Korda and Koerstz Madsen recorded six birdies and one bogey in their rounds of 67. Seven players sit one shot further back on four-under, including World Number One Jin Young Ko and two-time LPGA Tour winner, Gaby Lopez.
Lopez, who played a round with Annika in the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions last month, was incredibly excited after Sorenstam gave her advice in a practice round.
“You can see that her short game; putting is still on. That's something that she has in her veins and is going to shine forever,” said Lopez.
“She said that she's probably not hitting it as far or straight as she was before, but at the end of the day, I'm going to say it again: She's my superhero. She and Lorena are probably why I'm here. Being able to share this with them, with her specifically, is just unbelievable.”
Madelene Sagstrom got off to a poor start to the defence of her title, finishing the round with a five-over 77 after finishing with two double bogeys in her last four holes.
Elsewhere, Melissa Reid and Charley Hull of England both carded solid one-under rounds of 71, with countrywoman and major winner Georgia Hall one shot further back.