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Sorenstam close to co-leaders after first


Annika Sorenstam hits a fairway wood on the 18th hole during the first round of the Safeway International.
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Annika Sorenstam hits a fairway wood on the 18th hole during the first round of the Safeway International. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

Defending champion Annika Sorenstam shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday to finish a stroke behind first-round leaders Lorena Ochoa and Siew-Ai Lim in the Safeway International at Superstition Mountain, Ariz., while Michelle Wie was in danger of missing the cut after a 73.

Sorenstam won her 57th LPGA Tour title two weeks ago in Mexico in her season debut, her third straight victory dating to last year. The 15-year-old Wie is coming off a second-place tie in the season-opening SBS Open in Hawaii.

Juli Inkster matched Sorenstam at 66, Karen Stupples had a 67, and Soo-Yun Kang, Sung Ah Yim and Moira Dunn shot 68s. Paula Creamer, Beth Daniel, Candie Kung, Natalie Gulbis, Marcy Hart, Dawn Coe-Jones, Karrie Webb and Kim Williams had 69s.

Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., shot a 71 to tie for 24th place.

Playing in the first group to tee off on the back nine, Wie lost her touch in the chilly morning air, dropping two strokes on the par-5 18th. Already 1 over after eight holes, the teen hooked her drive into the fairway-length pond, duplicated that with a 3-wood after a drop and had to get up and down from a bunker to salvage a double-bogey 7.

PGA Tour

Rain halted play in the Bay Hill Invitational, after only three hours, still enough time for Tiger Woods to hit a shot that made fans nearly drop their umbrellas in utter amazement.

With great anticipation over the threesome of Woods, Ernie Els and U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, the world’s No. 1 player led off on the first tee by taking a 6-inch divot with a 3-wood that was lucky to reach the fairway.

Nearly 2 inches of rain saturated Bay Hill Club & Lodge at Orlando, Fla., causing the sixth weather-related suspension in 12 events on the PGA Tour this year.

Sergio Garcia was 3 under through eight holes when play was halted. Joe Ogilvie, who lost in a three-man playoff in the Honda Classic last week, also was at 3 under through 13 holes, the most anyone played.

Woods managed to make par after that whopping tee shot on No. 1 and was 2 under through eight holes. Els, coming off consecutive European tour victories in Dubai and Qatar, bogeyed his first two holes and was 1 over, while Goosen was at 2 over.

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