Sorenstam misses the cut at Colonial
By Doug Ferguson
Associated Press Golf Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas Annika Sorenstam was good enough to play against the men, but only for two days.
Her historic ride at the Colonial ended abruptly today when she stumbled to five bogeys in a span of eight holes and missed the cut by four shots.
She made a 14-foot par putt on the 18th hole for a 4-over 74 and left the green in tears, emotionally worn out from the intense scrutiny of being the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour.
Sorenstam played two rounds over the 7,080-yard Colonial in 5-over 145 and tied for 96th, finishing ahead of 11 players.
Kane'ohe native Dean Wilson, a tour rookie who was one of Sorenstam's playing partners this week, shot a 3-under 67 today to make the cut. Wilson is 2-under for the tournament, six shots behind the leaders.
No one knew how Sorenstam would fare against the best players in the world, especially on a course that was longer and tougher than anything she has played.
By the end of her remarkable two days, no one cared.
She teed off yesterday morning amid resounding cheers. Late this afternoon, she walked toward the 18th green to a standing ovation that shook the tradition-rich club.
Sorenstam had to scramble for par on the final hole something she was forced to do throughout a hot, sticky afternoon before another raucous gallery.
Her two-day total of 145 was eight strokes better than the odds out of Las Vegas, and she impressed some of her skeptics with alarming accuracy despite intense pressure over 36 holes.
Sorenstam wound up 13 strokes behind co-leaders Kenny Perry (64) and Dan Forsman (66), who will take a one-stroke lead into the weekend.
It probably won't be the same.
Sorenstam brought a buzz to Colonial not seen since Ben Hogan was prowling a course that became known as "Hogan's Alley."
For one week and maybe longer this was "Annika's Alley."
"It's been fantastic," Sorenstam said. "They have cheered me on from the first tee to the 18th hole. I didn't want to let them down."
Babe Zaharias was the last woman to compete on the tour, in 1945. If there is another, Sorenstam says it won't be her.
"It was a great week but I've got to go back to my tour, where I belong," she said. "I'm glad I did it, but this is way over my head."
Some of the men applauded her nonetheless.
"The way she handled herself with style and grace ... it's kind of a sad ending, I suppose," Forsman said. "I want to see the rest of the story."
For a fleeting moment, this looked as if it might have a storybook ending.
An afternoon start brought slightly tougher conditions on the course, and wild enthusiasm among the thousands of fans outside the ropes. Fans were stacked so deep behind the green that some cheered without ever seeing the shot.
Support came from all quarters.
"I hope she makes the cut," President Bush said from his ranch in Crawford, about two hours away.
Sorenstam raised everyone's hopes early.
She saved par from the bunker twice on the first three holes. In between, she fired at the flag and holed an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 2 to get to even par for the tournament, just inside the cut line.
Still, there were signs she was not on top of her game, that three months of buildup and three days under intense scrutiny were starting to take their toll.
It began to unravel on No. 5, the last of a three-hole stretch known as the "Horrible Horseshoe," when her tee shot sailed to the right and into the trees.
Sorenstam was lucky the branches knocked the ball into the rough instead of sending it into the hazard. She punched out to the fairway, missed the green to the left and had to make a 15-foot putt for bogey.
Another chunked chip on No. 6 led to another bogey. She took three putts from 70 feet on the eighth hole, her first effort barely making it up the ridge.
"I wasn't as tough as I thought I was," she said. "I was so nervous."
Just like that, she was at 3 over for the tournament and in need of at least two birdies on the back nine just to qualify for the weekend.
Her hopes ended quickly with a pair of three-putts from 30 feet on the 10th, and from close to 50 feet on No. 12, when her short par putt lipped out and sent her to 5 over.
Sorenstam said she wasn't trying to prove anything to anyone, least of all that she could beat the boys.
Even those at the top of the leaderboard were impressed.
"I played with Tiger two times last year ... and the media scrutiny was really intense out there," Perry said. "I performed very poorly. And she shoots 71. My hat's off to her. I think she did a great job."
Jesper Parnevik, who had a 68 and was among those at 6-under 134, said after a practice round with Sorenstam on Tuesday that for her to break 75 both days would be a realistic goal.
Sorenstam was better than that, and well under the 153 predicted by the Las Vegas bookmakers.
"She played amazing," Parnevik said. "I guess we have the Shark, the Tiger and now we have the Superwoman."
Now she goes back to her day job.
After two rounds on the most demanding stage, before the kind of crowds she has never seen and might not ever again, Sorenstam has a title to defend next week outside Chicago in the Kellogg-Keebler Classic.
It will be played at Stonebridge County Club, a par 72 that measures 6,237 yards. Sorenstam shot 21-under 195 last year and won by 11.