GLADSTONE, N.J. – Annika Sorenstam survived a big scare in the second round of the HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship on Friday, holing a 30-foot birdie putt on the 21st hole to beat Tina Barrett.

Sorenstam, coming off a 23rd-place tie last week in the U.S. Women’s Open, overcame three two-hole deficits before taking her first lead with a conceded par on the par-3 17th. The Swedish star needed only to halve the par-4 18th to win, but bogeyed the hole – missing an 8-foot par try – to send the match back to No. 1.

“I had a lot of putts on the edges again,” said Sorenstam, who also struggled Thursday on Hamilton Farm’s rain-softened greens in her 2-and-1 victory over Joanne Morley. “It wasn’t until that last putt, that I really had one go in.”

Barrett, winless since taking the 1989 Ocean State Open in her first season on the LPGA Tour, made pressure putts to extend the match on the first two extra holes – an 8-footer for par on the par-4 first and an 18-footer for birdie with Sorenstam only inches from the cup in three on the par-5 second. On the par-3 third, the 32nd-seeded Barrett missed a 12-foot birdie try after Sorenstam holed her long birdie putt.

While Sorenstam avoided an upset, second-seeded Cristie Kerr and No. 4 Paula Creamer were eliminated. The top-seeded Sorenstam and No. 8 Candie Kung – both in the upper bracket – are the only players seeded 12 or higher to survive the first two rounds, and No. 14 Wendy Ward is the only one in the top 29 left in the lower bracket.

Streck leads by two in birdie-filled round

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. – Ron Streck isn’t a household name on the Champions Tour. He is, however, the answer to a golf trivia question.

Streck, the first player to use a metal wood in competition on the PGA Tour, had a 9-under 62 on Friday and held a two-stroke lead over Craig Stadler in the opening round of the Commerce Bank Championship.

The second-year senior didn’t have a bogey in his lowest round since he shot 62 four times in his 22 years on the PGA Tour.

Streck had five birdie putts of 3 feet or less, including 3-footers on 17 and 18 at the 6,989-yard Red Course at Eisenhower Park.

, a county public facility on Long Island.

“I hit every green except No. 1 so you aren’t going to hear me complain about anything today,” said Streck, who is 65th on the money list this year with $98,243. His best finish this season was a tie for 21st last week at the Bank of America Championship.

Dave Eichelberger, Wayne Levi, Darrell Kestner and Gary McCord had 65s as 51 players in the field of 78 broke par. The average score in the opening round was a tournament-record 69.65, a stroke off the tour-record 68.34 set earlier this year at the par-70 The Moors at the Blue Angels Classic.

Stadler recently took three weeks off to rest a sore back.

“That was the first time I ever had a back issue so now I have sympathy for the other guys with it,” he said.

Stadler had eight birdies and a bogey Friday.

“I hit a lot of good wedges in close for birdies,” he said, referring to the five birdie putts he made from 10 feet or less. “If you keep it in the fairway you should have makeable putts for birdies.”

Two-time defending champion Jim Thorpe opened with a 68. He has been bothered this week by back pain.

“As I went on it got a little better and I was able to start hitting the ball,” Thorpe said. “These guys were shooting lights out today so I have to join the birdie parade tomorrow. I have to get within striking distance of three, four strokes, so need to be 6, 7 under par tomorrow.”

Divots: Kestner, who birdied the last two holes, is the local favorite. He’s the pro at Deepdale Golf Club, about six miles away. … Howard Twitty had a hole-in-one on the 194-yard 3rd with a 4-iron. It was the third ace on tour this year and the 10th in the 18 years of this tournament, the sixth in the three years at this course. Twitty had a 73. … Vincente Fernandez had a 6-under 30 on the back nine that included six straight birdies. He finished with a 66. … The tournament has a purse of $1.5 million with $225,000 going to the winner.

AP-ES-07-01-05 1733EDT


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