Originally created 05/12/05

Sorenstam starts over at Chick-fil-A event



STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. - Nancy Lopez got a phone call from her husband last weekend, congratulating her for keeping a grip on a major piece of women's golf history - even if she's got to share it.

Then again, no record is safe as long as Annika Sorenstam is around.

The Swede is ready to get started on a new streak, and what better time than this weekend at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship? After all, Lopez will be handing out the trophy to the winner.

In an apropos convergence of the LPGA's past and present, Sorenstam will tee off today in a tournament where Lopez is the host - just four days after Sorenstam's bid for a record sixth consecutive victory was denied at the Michelob Ultra Open in Virginia.

"As a professional athlete, you want to keep some of your records," Lopez said Wednesday. "I wasn't rooting against her, but I did get a sweet message from my husband (former major league player and manager Ray Knight). He told me, 'You can breathe easy. Annika didn't break your record.' "

Of course, Sorenstam is not content just to share the mark set by Lopez in 1978.

"I get over things pretty quickly," she said after playing the pro-am Wednesday.

"I'd like to start a new streak. This would be a good week to start."

Sorenstam is the automatic favorite in any tournament she plays, even when faced with a strong field. Ninety-two of the top 100 players from last year's money list will be on the course at Eagle's Landing Country Club.

Two amateurs are in the field, headed by Augusta's Laura Coble, who received a sponsor excemption. Fellow amateur Morgan Pressel, 16, received the other exemption.

Essentially, it's Sorenstam vs. everyone else. So far, everyone else isn't faring so well.

Beginning last November, Sorenstam won her final two events on the LPGA Tour. She kept the run going with three more victories to start 2005, including the first major of the season.

But the amazing run finally ended last weekend at Kingsmill, doomed by a dismal first round, a botched hole in the final round and a shaky putter all the way through. She could have made up at least a dozen strokes with steadier play on the greens.

As it was, Sorenstam wound up 10 shots behind winner Cristie Kerr, finishing in a tie for 12th place.