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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
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).
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