Wendy Ward started off her week the right way by winning the pro-am tournament Wednesday at the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship.
Ward and her team of Tony Claxton, Milton Sexton, Mike Shelton and Tony Williams had a score of 50.7.
The format for the pro-am tournament was a five-person scramble with 10 percent of the total amateur handicap deducted. A total of 31 pros participated in the event.
Finishing a close second at 50.9 was the team of Lorie Kane, Ernest Hodge, Marty Holmes, Charles Lawson and Eric Miller. In third place was Heather Daly-Donofrio, Tom Farrell, Bob Freeland, Dale Gordineer and Ronald D. Lewellyn with a score of 51.5. The fourth-place team consisted of Maria Hjorth, Ray Bourne, Michael Oates, Joe Tonsig and Jay Weinberger and had a score of 51.6
Although her team didn't win a prize, pro Donna Andrews made a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventh hole. The hole plays about 150 yards.
DREAM TEAM: Annika Sorenstam's pro-am group included LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw, 15-year-old Japanese amateur Shinobo Moromizato, Augusta Mayor Bob Young and Asahi Ryokuken president Ryota Koga.
Sorenstam said it was a good way to spend time with the commissioner.
"He's a nice guy and we had a good time," she said. "We talked a little bit about the tour. It's a good way to get to know him."
The top women's player also helped out Votaw on the course.
"I gave him a few pointers, but I told him it's good he doesn't hit every fairway," she said. "That way I know that (he's) working."
The team shot a score of 54.3 after handicap adjustments.
SURROUND CAMERAS: The Golf Channel swing matrix, 36 cameras that show a player's swing from all angles, will be utilized for this week's broadcast.
The cameras are in position on the 18th tee box. They were in place for Wednesday's pro-am and will be removed after today's play, said Keith Hirshland of The Golf Channel.
The technology was developed by Kewazinga, a New York-based company, and has been used for telecasts such as the X Games.
The Golf Channel will use it to show and analyze swings of players.
WHAT HILLS? The hilly Mount Vintage Plantation layout was the source of much conversation at last year's tournament. But Sorenstam said the terrain is just part of the game.
"I know there are hills out there," she said. "But they don't affect my game. That's just part of the golf course, part of walking, part of golf."
LOCAL CONNECTIONS: Augusta golfer Mitzi Edge is not the only player with ties to the area who are competing in this week's Asahi Ryokuken event.
Three golfers count South Carolina as their birthplace or current residence. They are Angela Buzminski of Little River, Jen Hanna of Greenville and Sherri Turner of Greenville.
Several players also competed at South Carolina universities, including Siew-Ai Lim and Marianne Morris, who played at the University of South Carolina.
Furman University has the largest contingent, with eight golfers having played at the Greenville school. They are Turner, Hanna, Caroline Blaylock, Ashli Bunch, Diana D'Alessio, Denise Killeen, Betsy King and Maggie Will.
WOMEN OF EXCELLENCE: LPGA president Gail Graham, is scheduled to speak tonight at the Women of Excellence 2002 Reunion.
The event will be held at 7 p.m. at Augusta Country Club. The Central Savannah River Council of the Girls Scouts is the host.
Graham played in last year's inaugural Asahi Ryokuken event, but is not in the starting field this year.
Reach John Boyette at (706) 823-3337 or email@example.com.
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