Midland, Michigan – Hall of Famer Annika Sørenstam returned to the top of the LPGA Tour leaderboard on Wednesday, teaming up with Madeleine Sagstrom at Dow Great Lakes Bay by invitation.
Sorenstam and Sajstrom’s 5-under-65 shot in rotation at Midland Country Club took a share of the first-round lead with fellow debutants Pauline Rossin and Dewey Webber.
“It’s different because he made a team,” Sorenstam said. “I have a great partner. I mean, I guess, I don’t really think about it, but it’s nice to see your name on the board somewhere. I’m just trying to focus on my game and do what I can with that skill set I have today.”
Sørenstam, 51, is making her second LPGA Tour start this year and only her third since retiring after the 2008 season. Teams will play better ball on Thursday and Saturday and take turns shooting again on Friday.
“It was really fun,” Sorenstam said. “I think we had a really good chemistry. We had a great time. I was excited to be here and said that to Madeleine on the range. I was really surprised and looking forward to playing.”
Sorenstam missed a loss at the US Women’s Open last month, then tied for fourth place last week in Nevada in the US Century Championship against mostly men.
“I didn’t really feel any pressure from my partner,” Sorenstam said. “I was fine with most of my shots. I mean, there were a few that obviously could have been a little better and maybe a little more aggressive with my shots, but overall, the golf was quiet. It was in the fairway. It was the greens.”
Sagstrom won the 2020 Gainbridge LPGA title at Boca Rio for her only title. They made a 3-under turn, ran three birds in a row on the numbers 12-14 and dropped a two-stroke on the par-4 for 16th with their lone bogey.
“I was, like, ‘That’s so perfect,’” said Sajstrom. “It worked out wonderfully. She did some good motivation too to give her some good chances. We have just taken advantage of some of the opportunities that have been presented to us. We had a lot, but it was a fun day overall.”
Webber and Rosen are both winless on the round. They had a no-stealth run, and finished on the front nine after Sorenstam and Sagstrom completed play on the back nine.
“We are the French Fry and Apple Pie team,” Weber said.
Playing alongside Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomari, Sørenstam and Sagstrom, the Americans shot 71 in a round that was delayed by two hours and 40 minutes due to morning rain.
Jodi Ewart Chadoff-Emma Tully, Gillian Hollis-Lauren Stephenson and Bornanong Fatlum-Bavarisa Yuktuan 66 were launched. They were followed by Allison Emery and Kathryn Berry Hamsky at 67.
Jennifer Kupshaw and Lizette Salas topped the group at 68. Sisters Nelly and Jessica Korda were 69, along with 47-year-old Carrie Webb and Marina Alex.
Champion defending champions Arya and Moriah Gutanugarn have shot 73 times.
The tournament is scheduled to end on Saturday so that the players can head to France next week to participate in the fourth major tournament of the year in the Evian Championship. That will begin the European portion of the LPGA Tour schedule that includes the Women’s British Open at Muirfield.