DUBAI, United Arab Emirates(AP) Annika Sorenstam started the final tournament of her career Thursday with a 2-under 70, four shots off the lead at the Dubai Ladies Masters.
The defending champion closed with back-to-back bogeys at Emirates Golf Club after starting from the 10th tee. She double-bogeyed the 18th, but had seven birdies at the season-ending tournament on the Ladies European Tour.
Johanna Head of England opened with a bogey-free 66 to lead Anja Monke of Germany by two shots. England’s Katharina Schallenberg, Sweden’s Maria Boden and Italy’s Veronica Zorzi each shot 69s.
Sorenstam started with three birdies in her first four holes before dropping a shot on the 14th. On the par-5 18th, her third shot to the green spun back into the water hazard guarding the front of the green.
“I got off to a tremendous start,” Sorenstam said. “Played well for about 14 holes and collapsed on the other four, which is a bummer when you feel so good about something and then you come in with such a terrible finish.”
The winner of 72 LPGA titles and 10 major championships believes she can do better.
“I need to do a little better the next three days,” Sorenstam said. “It’s a good start. Like I said, if I can just clean it up, I think I have a good, low round in me.”
Laura Davies opened with a 70 and was tied for sixth in a group with Sorenstam.
The 35-year-old Head, 86th on the money list and fighting to retain her Tour card, credited her strong play to some tips from European Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter.
“I was in Japan because my husband Terry was caddying for Ian Poulter over there,” Head said. “He gave me a bit of a short-game lesson, and I’ve been working on that for the last couple of weeks. It’s been really helpful.”