Sunday, May 13, 2001

Tristate Golf Notebook

Tiger, Annika coming to a course near you

By Jack Murray
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Area fans will be treated in the next few weeks to the No.1 man and No.1 woman golfers in the world defending their championships at the PGA Tour Memorial and LPGA Champions Classic.

        Tiger Woods is set to defend his Memorial title May 31-June 3 at Muirfield Village in Dublin, near Columbus. Annika Sorenstam defends her Champions Classic title, beginning Friday, at Country Club of the North in Beavercreek, near Dayton.

        Sorenstam has five victories this year, including a major, compared to three and a major for Woods. Both have played in eight events entering this weekend's competition.

        The Swedish woman, 30, and the American man, 25, are averaging the same 68.89 strokes per round. Woods' average finish is slightly better, 5.75, but Sorenstam's 6.5 cumulative includes a 43rd at the Longs Drugs Challenge, which ended her four-tournament winning streak. She has been first or second in every other event she has played.

        “I would love to play Tiger,” Sorenstam said after winning last week's Chick-fil-A Charity Championship, assuming she hits from the shorter women's tees. “I like playing with the guys overall. It's a lot of fun to see how they play and approach the game. You can learn something.”

        Sorenstam has been a multiple winner on the LPGA Tour every year since 1995 while becoming the first woman with $7 million in career earnings.

        Dan Patrick (Mason) and former Reds reliever Rob “Nasty Boy” Dibble will broadcast Patrick's ESPN radio show live from CC of the North during Thursday's LPGA Celebrity Pro-Am from 1-4 p.m. Patrick and Dibble also will play in the pro-am along with Bob Huggins, Archie Griffin and Keith Byars.

        CHIP SHOTS: NCR Country Club in Kettering will play host to a U.S. Women's Open sectional qualifier Tuesday. ... Middletown's Marianne Morris, a non-exempt player on the LPGA Tour, missed her first cut in 10 events spanning two years Saturday in the Electrolux USA Championship. She made all six cuts in tournaments she played last year and the first three this year.

        Indiana senior Natalie Tucker of Lawrenceburg, one of 321 players in this weekend's 63-team NCAA Division I Championship regionals, has been selected for the eight-player women's team for the U.S.-Japan Collegiate Matches July 2-5 at Verde Sano Golf Club in Japan.

        Of the exempt players on the PGA Tour (pros who have finished in the top 125 on the 2000 PGA Tour money list), Union's Steve Flesch and Franklin's Frank Lickliter are second and third behind Australian Craig Parry ($4.1 million, 205 starts) among leaders in career earnings who have never won a tour event. Flesch has earned $3.8 million in 110 starts and Lickliter $3.5 million in 166 starts.

        Former Miami University teammates Kyle Voska (St. Xavier) and Tee McCabe (Lakota), along with Indiana University grad Randy Leen (Alter), are cashing checks on the Developmental mini-tour. ... Former Reds Johnny Bench and Chris Sabo are still regulars on the Celebrity Players Tour.


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