Golfing icon Annika Sorenstam can't hide passion, toughness at LPGA opener

Edgar Thompson, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Golf

ORLANDO, Fla. — Fifteen years ago little did anyone know Annika Sorenstam was set to embark on her final season.

Over the time since her decision shook the world of women’s golf, Sorenstam became a wife, a mother of two and a multifaceted businesswoman. She began a foundation, started a golf academy and in 2022 became host of an LPGA Tour event.

While competitive golf remained on the back burner for more than a decade, Sorenstam’s competitive fire never faded, a fact impossible to hide at the season-opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions.

The 52-year-old Swede and longtime Lake Nona resident was grinding Saturday as she looked to bounce back from a disappointing second round Friday and enter the mix of the celebrity division.

Instead, a closing double-bogey 6 likely dashed her hopes of catching former tennis professional Mardy Fish, a three-time event winner who holds a 14-point lead over Jeremy Roenick and Chad Pfeifer and 15 over Sorenstam playing the Modified Stableford scoring system.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Brooke Henderson carries a 3-stroke lead into Sunday’s final round over Nelly Korda and Nasa Hataoka and 26 other LPGA pros.


“I was hoping for moving day, but I moved in the wrong direction,” Sorenstam said.

After she missed a short bogey putt on No. 18, Sorenstam quickly stepped over the hole and frustratingly slapped the short come-backer between her feet and into the cup.

The potentially costly move was perhaps the only thing hinting the Sorenstam is now an amateur golfer.

The LPGA season opener at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club mixes Tour winners from the past two seasons with former professionals in a variety of sports. A woman many consider the GOAT is a bit of a shark in a pool of former football, basketball, baseball and hockey stars and playing on her home course.


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