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The Iraq war deteriorated into a dismayingly complex and savage struggle, with Iraqis by the thousands killed in sectarian reprisal attacks and the US military's death toll nearing 3,000.

Several GOP lawmakers were brought down by scandals: Mark Foley, Randy Cunningham, Tom DeLay, and Bob Ney.

Israel and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia fought a monthlong war in the summer; more than 900 people were killed.

2006

It took 90 holes of gritty golf, but Annika Sorenstam prevailed at the 2006 U.S. Women's Open at Newport (R.L) Country Club after shooting a 1-under 70 in a Monday playoff to beat Pat Hurst by four strokes.

The 35-year-old Swede won her 10th major overall and first since the 2005 LPGA McDonald's Championship. Only Patty Berg has won more women's majors, with 15. Sorenstam's third Women's Open victory tied her with three other players for second-most open titles. Only Betsy Rawls and Mickey Wright have more, with four.

"I've been trying so hard," said Sorenstam on the 18th green after winning. "I think I've been talking to myself so many times, if somebody saw me, they might think I'm weird.

"I just kept telling myself, `Just play your game; it's good enough; focus on what you've got to do; don't think too much about the surroundings; focus on what you want to do; here's your chance.' And I kept saying that over and over."

Sorenstam went 10 years between Women's Open wins, the second-longest stretch in the championship's history. Meg Mallon had gone 13 years in between wins until her 2004 triumph at The Orchards.

Sorenstam made her splash on the professional circuit by making the 1995 U.S. Women's Open her first career victory, one of 14 players to make the championship their first win. She then won again in '96. She hadn't won again since, despite some close calls in three of the previous four championships leading into 2006.

In 2002 at Prairie Dunes, Juli Inkster erased Sorenstam's two-stroke lead in the final round with a lights-out 66. The next year, at Pumpkin Ridge, Sorenstam could have added her name to the playoff mix had she parred the 18th hole. Instead, she sent a wayward approach far right and needed relief. She missed a 12-foot par putt that would have created a four-way tie. In 2004, Mallon shot a final-round 65 to best Sorenstam by two strokes.

"When I came out early and won my first tournament as a U.S. Open and I won back to back, I thought, `Wow, I can do this.' Now it's been 10 years," said Sorenstam. "It's been a long wait, a long road, but along the way I've learned a lot, and this week obviously means a lot to me, to come back the way that I did. And especially the way the season has been going, a little up and down."

The playoff was needed after the 72nd hole, replete with drama, still ended in a deadlock. Hurst sank a pressure-packed 4-footer before Sorenstam's 2-foot tap-in forced the extra round.

The difference between Sunday and Monday seemed to affect Hurst the most, as she struggled to execute solid shots and putts. Through the first 12 holes, Hurst had already taken 24 putts. Sorenstam, in contrast, turned in an unswerving performance, hitting 11 of 14 fairways and never missing the fairway on the back side.

And when Sorenstam did stumble, Hurst, 37, couldn't catch a break. On the par-4 sixth, when Sorenstam couldn't get up and down, Hurst was unable to capitalize. She drove into a right fairway bunker, played a short shot but the ball rolled into the left tall grass. She ended up three-putting from 25 feet, yanking the second one that was within 3 feet.

Result: double bogey and Sorenstam's lead increased to four.

Three holes later Hurst would again be victimized by the low-lying ninth. She had bogeyed it in the third and fourth rounds, and once again found trouble and another bogey. Sorenstam smacked a 3-footer in for par. As they headed to the 10th tee, Sorenstam had a comfortable five-stroke margin.

Hurst continued grinding and settled down with eight straight pars. But she couldn't convert any birdie chances, missing a downhill 15-footer on the 11th, an 8-footer on the 12th and 6-footer on the 14th.

Sorenstam got as low as 2 under by sinking a putt on the 340-yard par-4 12th, from 10 feet, that brought a small smile. She missed her 14-foot par putt on the next hole, but by that time, it was too late for Hurst to make any sort of last stand. Hurst did stroke in a 40-footer from the fringe on 18 for birdie, her only one of the round, that caused her to raise her arms in celebration.

Moments later, Sorenstam would too, but in blissful triumph. When her 2-foot tap-in fell, she rested her putter behind her neck, closing her eyes as she tilted her head skyward.

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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