PGA COLONIAL So far, Sorenstam has passing grade
Today's second round will give the LPGA player a gauge of her abilities.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Annika Sorenstam has already made history. Now she's trying to make the cut.
Still, no matter what happens today in the second round of the Colonial, the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event in 58 years has already accomplished most of what she set out to do.
"Personally, I came here to test myself. I'm very proud of the way I was focusing and the way I made decisions and stuck to them," Sorenstam said after her opening 71 Thursday. "That's why I'm here. I wanted to see if I could do it. That's all that matters to me."
At 1-over par, Sorenstam proved -- at least for a round -- that her game stacked up against the players on the men's tour.
"It looked like the way she's playing, she could easily compete on this level," Phil Mickelson said after his 67.
Sorenstam's first-round score was in the middle of the pack, but better than Sergio Garcia (72), Tom Lehman (73) and two dozen others. Defending champion Nick Price, who said her appearance on a sponsor's exemption "reeks of publicity," shot a 70.
Sorenstam was tied for 73rd, with the top 70 and ties advancing to the final two rounds. She was to play this afternoon, with a 2:43 p.m. tee time, when tougher conditions were expected as the 7,080-yard layout dried out.
Rory Sabbatini took advantage of a soft course after two days of rain for an opening 64. He led by one stroke over Mark Calcavecchia and Patrick Sheehan.
With a gallery that stood a dozen deep and strained to see every shot, Sorenstam showed how she has become the most dominant female golfer in 40 years. She won 13 times in 25 tournaments around the world last year.
Not much negative
She missed only one fairway and on the four greens she missed, she was close enough to use her putter.
"She wanted to experience this Tiger mania, if you want to call it that, because she thinks that's going to help her in the future," said Jesper Parnevik, a fellow Swede.
"When she comes to the next major, it's going to be like playing a Wednesday pro-am for her. So she just wants to go through all of this and see how she handles it."
On Thursday, she handled everything like a champ.
Sorenstam might have been nervous all day -- "My heart was beating, I felt a little sick in my stomach, my hands were sweaty," she said -- but she never played like it.
"She's a machine. She's awesome," said Aaron Barber, who played with Sorenstam and had a 72.
Dean Wilson, the other PGA Tour rookie in the group, had a 71.
"I'm not ashamed to lose to her," Barber said. "It's only 18 holes, too."
The loudest cheer of the day came at the par-3 13th, where Sorenstam made her only birdie with a 15-foot putt from just off the fringe on her fourth hole of the day. She pumped her first, kicked her leg and pointed to her caddie.
She stayed under par for 10 more holes, until three-putting from 60 feet at her 14th hole, the 470-yard fifth. That was the only fairway missed, but she then managed to get to the green from the right rough.
Slips on ninth
Sorenstam didn't go over par until missing an 8-foot putt on her finishing hole, the 402-yard ninth.
"I didn't miss really a shot. Yeah, I missed some putts, but most of it was speed," she said. "This probably would be, I would have to say in the 60s on my tour."
Sorenstam missed four birdie putts inside 15 feet.
The last woman to play on the PGA Tour was Babe Zaharias in 1945. The last time there was this much interest in one round was when Woods made his pro debut in the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open.
Fans began gathering around the 10th tee nearly an hour before Sorenstam started her round. They crammed into a clubhouse balcony, on a grassy hill to the right of the tee, and covered every inch of rope from tee to green.
Hundreds of fans wore "Go Annika" buttons and held up signs urging her on. There was even the odd cry of "You Da Woman!"
"I teed off 10 minutes behind her, and everybody out here is watching her," Sheehan said. "Everybody else is kind of under the radar."