Annika breezes through long day
Sorenstam wins the LPGA World Championship for a record fifth time
PALM DESERT, Calif. » While Michelle Wie's fate for turning in an incorrect scorecard was being determined (disqualification), Annika Sorenstam set the record straight about her own score yesterday.
The Samsung World Championship scoreboard in the press tent indicated a bogey-free round for Sorenstam. It wasn't until Sorenstam herself pointed out that she'd shot a 6 on the par-5 No. 15 that most of the newsgatherers realized Sorenstam had shot a 3-under 69 instead of a 68.
As it turned out, she could afford the stroke. With plenty to spare.
Sorenstam finished at 18-under 270, capturing her record fifth LPGA World Championship and pocketing the $212,500 first-place check.
While most of the rest of the field struggled with wet and windy conditions, Sorenstam continued to roll at Bighorn, her home course. An eagle at the 470-yard par-5 No. 7 took her to 18 under and a 10-stroke lead, and it was all but over.
Paula Creamer was second, eight shots behind at 10-under 278. She also eagled the 12th hole (holing a wedge from 50 yards), but Creamer eventually realized she was merely playing for second place.
"I'm still out there playing to win. Then when you get on hole 15, 16, you kind of realize, 'OK, you are probably not going to win this tournament,' " she said. "That's kind of hard for me to do mentally. But at this point you kind of have to when you see Annika."
Sorenstam tied Mickey Wright for most wins in a single event. She also clinched the tour's Rolex Player of the Year award and the ADT Official Money List title, both for the eighth time.
A long day that included three rain delays didn't faze Sorenstam. Some of that was fortunate timing.
"Funny enough, the first rain delay I hadn't hit a tee shot yet, so I could just go back to the clubhouse. And the second break I played nine holes, so it was like go in and have some lunch," she said. "For me, it wasn't really inconvenient at all."
She said staying focused was not difficult despite the big lead.
"I was thinking about the lead throughout the day. I've had a lead a few times and I kept telling myself just think forward, don't look back," Sorenstam said. "After 18-under comes 19-under. After 19-under comes 20. Just think forward. And not worry too much what the other players are doing."
In addition to the other accolades, Sorenstam will probably win the Vare Trophy, which goes to the player with the lowest scoring average for the year with a minimum of 70 rounds played.
"I need to play three more events, which I'm going to do," Sorenstam said. "Korea, Japan and the Tour Championship. So it's really coming down to the last tournament."
At her post-tournament news conference, Sorenstam did not know Wie had been disqualified for an illegal drop and incorrect scorecard on Saturday. She said she was impressed with Wie's debut.
"You come here and you play with the top 20 in the world, you got to play some really good golf to be up there and she obviously did," Sorenstam said. "I'm not sure what she finished, top five I'm sure. So it's a great finish. I'm sure that's just the beginning of a lot of great tournaments ahead."