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1996

Annika Sorenstam of Stockholm, Sweden, won the U.S. Women's Open Championship for the second straight year, setting a scoring record in the process.

The Donald Ross-designed course at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, in Southern Pines, N.C., was set up at par 70 for the championship. Sorenstam waltzed to a six-stroke victory over runner-up Kris Tschetter of McLean, Va., by firing a 72-hole score of 272, 8-under-par.

Sorenstam broke the 72-hole scoring record by five strokes. The previous record had been set in 1988 by Liselotte Neumann and was tied in 1994 by Patty Sheehan.

While that record is important from a numerical standpoint, the 72-hole record of nine under-par, set by Pat Bradley in 1981, remains unmatched. Bradley fired 279 for four rounds over the par-72 LaGrange (Ill.) Country Club.

Sorenstam's opening round of 70 put her one stroke off the lead when Beth Daniel and Kim Williams both birdied the 18th hole for 1-under-par 69s.

Her second round of 67 was the only sub-par round of the day. Her 137 for 36 holes gave her a three stroke lead over Jane Geddes and Brandie Burton, who were tied at 140.

The championship was very nearly decided on Saturday when Sorenstam fired a third-round 69 to retain her three-stroke lead over Burton. The two had been tied as late as the 16th hole, but Sorenstam picked up three strokes over the final three holes to finish 54 holes at 4-under-par 206.

Beginning Sunday's final round with a three-stroke lead over Burton and a four-stroke advantage over Geddes, Sorenstam eagled the par-5 10th hole with a 20-foot putt, which gave her a seven stroke lead. A birdie at the long par-4 17th hole virtually clinched the Women's Open title for Sorenstam, who finished the day with a 66, tying Bradley's 1981 final round for the best finish by a champion.

Sorenstam finished with a 72-hole score of 272. Tschetter also recorded a final round of 66 to finish at 278 for second place. Bradley, Geddes, and Burton tied for third at 280.

Sorenstam became the sixth player to win back-to-back Women's Opens, joining Mickey Wright (1958-59), Donna Caponi (1969-70), Susie Maxwell Berning (1972-73), Hollis Stacy (1977-78) and Betsy King (1989-1990).

OPEN RECORDS

Starts - 15

Best Finish - Winner in 1995, '96 & 2006

Rds - 56

Cuts Made - 13

Top 3 - 5

Top 5 - 6

Top 10 - 7

Top 25 - 10

Avg. - 72.13

Scores In 60s - 11

Rds Under Par - 16

Earnings - $1,961,042.00
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