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Annika Sorenstam secured her place in history at the Standard Register PING, but it wasn’t easy. Exhausted after a record-breaking 59 (-13) during the second round, Sorenstam fought hard to outlast a hard-charging Se Ri Pak, finishing the tournament at 261 (-27). Sorenstam won her 25th LPGA title and set or tied six LPGA records in the process: most birdies in a round (13); lowest nine-hole round (-8); lowest 18-hole round (-13); lowest 36-hole total (-20); lowest 54-hole total (-23); and lowest 72-hole total (-27).
“That’s a lot of records this week,” said Sorenstam, who heads to the first major of the season with back-to-back wins under her belt. “I can’t absorb everything yet. It’s been incredible. But I really just wanted to win this tournament; that’s what mattered to me.”
Pak made the task difficult. Although Sorenstam began the day with a three-shot lead and made three birdies on the front nine, Pak wouldn’t let her relax. The young Korean answered with birdies of her own on holes three, four, six, seven and eight. By the time the two made the turn, Pak had moved to within one slim shot of Sorenstam’s lead. On the par-four 14th, Pak hit her approach shot to five feet and holed the putt for birdie. Sorenstam couldn’t match her and the two headed to 15 tied at 26-under-par.
But bad luck, or a bad club, took Pak out of a tie for the lead in a matter of minutes. A three-quarter 7-iron on the par-three 15th pitched over the green into a tough lie, and Pak couldn’t get up and down for par. Sorenstam nailed a 17-footer for birdie on the next hole to put the tournament out of Pak’s reach.
“I knew today was going to be really tough, especially with Se Ri.” said Sorenstam, who has a commanding $114,343 lead over Pak on the LPGA money list. “She’s on a roll lately. I had three shots extra to start, just in case, and I’m glad I had them. I think I played some good golf today, but Se Ri really stepped it up. I was trying hard, and I saw she was coming closer and closer. It was a fight coming in.”
Sorenstam became the fourth player in golf history to shoot a 59 (-13) in LPGA or PGA competition, joining Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval. But more importantly, she was trying to avoid becoming the first person to shoot 59 in a tournament and lose.
“It was important to win, very important,” said Sorenstam. “But on the other hand, look at the score. If somebody goes out and beats me when I shoot 13-under one day, you have got to think, ‘hats off.’ That would be incredible golf.”
Pak and Sorenstam have become quite acquainted lately, playing in the final twosome on Sunday for the second week in a row. Both times, Sorenstam maintained her lead and Pak finished runner-up, even though Pak has recorded eight consecutive rounds in the 60s. She now holds the LPGA record for lowest under-par total for a runner-up at 263 (-25).
“It’s a little disappointing for me, especially this week,” said Pak, who is looking for her second victory of the season and 10th on the LPGA Tour. “I have an unbelievably great score and I still lost. But the only thing I can say is that I think my game is in pretty good shape for next week. I am really looking forward to Nabisco.
“I think maybe Annika doesn’t like me anymore. Today I gave her a really hard time.” Second-year Tour member Yu Ping Lin posted her career-best finish with a tie for third at 275 (-13) with veteran Dottie Pepper. Dorothy Delasin and Akiko Fukushima finished fifth at 276 (-12).
|Standard Register Ping|
|Finished||Player||R1||R2||R3||R4||Total Score||To Par|
|2||Se Ri Pak||65||68||63||67||263||-25|
|T3||Yu Ping Lin||72||65||68||70||275||-13|
|T19||Mi Hyun Kim||68||67||74||71||280||-8|
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