In a blast from the past, Annika Sorenstam is a co-leader in an LPGA event.
The 51-year-old Hall of Famer and partner Madelene Sagstrom, both of Sweden, share the lead after the first round of the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational on Wednesday in Midland, Mich.
Sorenstam and Sagstrom shot a 5-under-par 65 in alternate-shot action at Midland Country Club, leaving them level with France’s Pauline Roussin and the Netherlands’ Dewi Weber.
The 72-hole event is being contested by two-player teams. The first and third rounds will be played in foursomes (alternate shot) while the second and fourth rounds will be fourball (best-ball). The field will be cut to the low 35 teams and ties after 36 holes.
Sorenstam has played just three times on the LPGA tour in the past 13 years. She and Sagstrom made three birdies and no bogeys on the front nine. They added three consecutive birdies from No. 12 to No. 14 before carding their lone bogey of the day on the par-4 16th hole.
“It really was fun,” Sorenstam said. “I think we had really good chemistry. We had a good time. I was excited to be here and I told that to Madelene on the range. I was really kind of pumped and looking forward to playing.”
Rousin and Weber completed a bogey-free round. They also made three straight birdies on Nos. 12-14.
Three teams are tied for third place at 4 under: Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum and Pavarisa Yoktuan, England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff and the United States’ Emma Talley and the United States’ Jillian Hollis and Lauren Stephenson.
Another U.S. pair, Allison Emrey and Katherine Perry-Hamski, is alone in sixth place at 3 under.
In a five-way tie for seventh at 2 under are Sweden’s Linnea Johansson and Frida Kinhult, the United States’ Amy Olson and Australia’s Katherine Kirk, Taiwan’s Peiyun Chien and China’s Yu Liu, Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan and South Korea’s Haeji Kang and the United States’ Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas.
Olson said of the team format, “It’s fun to be able to play with one of your best friends. I think for me, it was interesting. We bogeyed the first hole, and the first thing I did was smile because I’m, like, it’s fine. That’s not your typical response when it’s just you, right?”
“There is just something about having a partner, someone who has your back, and you’re, like, it’s going to be fine, we got this that kind of helps you almost boost yourself up while you’re trying to lift your teammate up.”
The defending champions, Ariya Jutanugarn and Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand, are in danger of missing the cut after shooting a 3-over 73.
–Field Level Media