Sadakata Moves Fast, Ties for Lead
After shooting a 29 on the front nine, rookie Akio Sadakata started thinking about making history.
“I was thinking about the 59, but I didn’t go that deep,” he said.
Instead of becoming the fourth player to match the PGA Tour’s magic number, Sadakata settled for a career-best 64 Thursday and a share of the first-round lead at the HP Classic of New Orleans.
Paul Stankowski had five birdies on the back nine to join Sadakata at the top of the leaderboard.
Eight golfers, including leading money winner Davis Love III, defending champion K.J. Choi and Jeff Sluman, were one shot back.
Stewart Cink, Stephen Ames, Scott Verplank, Mark Wilson and Brian Gay also shot seven-under 65s.
Sadakata, who turned 24 last week, has had an inauspicious start to his PGA career, making the cut three times in nine tournaments.
But he surpassed his best round of the year by three strokes Thursday by taking advantage of excellent playing conditions.
With his parents looking on, Sadakata started fast with the help of a nifty recovery on the par-five, 448-yard second hole. After his drive hit a tree and kicked into a bunker, he chunked his second shot. But he hit a nine-iron to 10 feet, then dropped in the birdie putt.
Annika Sorenstam played her best on the longest holes at the inaugural Michelob Light Open, shooting a three-under 68 to trail the leaders by two strokes at Williamsburg, Va.
Tour novice Giulia Sergas posted a career-low 66 to share the lead with rookie Lorena Ochoa and Denise Killeen. Grace Park and Hee-Won Han shot 67. Akiko Fukushima, Karen Stupples and Suzann Pettersen also shot 68 to finish tied for sixth.
Sorenstam, the tour leader in driving distance, capitalized on the course’s three par-five holes, posting an eagle and two birdies. She also hit all 14 fairways.
Jack Nicklaus, teamed with sons Gary and Steve and playing a few groups ahead of sons Michael and Jackie, shot an even-par 71 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am at the Cliffs in Sunset, S.C.
Gary, Michael and Jackie, all competing as pros like their father, shot 72 in the Nationwide Tour event. Steve was his father’s amateur partner and did not have an individual score.
It was the first time the five Nicklaus men have competed in the same pro tournament.