Wie ends
LPGA event
at 2 under

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Annika Sorenstam says the thrill of victory never gets old.

"It's almost addictive," she said after shooting a final-round 66 yesterday to defend her title at the LPGA Safeway Classic. Defeating Beth Daniel by one stroke, Sorenstam became the second repeat champion in tournament history.

Sorenstam had back-to-back eagles and finished at 15-under 201 after starting the day in a tie with Daniel and Cristie Kerr.

Kerr finished three strokes back at 12-under 204 while Michelle Wie, the 6-foot Punahou high school freshman, ended at 2-under 214.

"It's really a lot of fun competing with really good players and I'm learning a lot while I'm out here," Wie said.

Wie easily made her fifth cut in six LPGA Tour starts after missing the cut last week playing with the men at the Boise Open on the Nationwide Tour.

Sorenstam is the tournament's first repeat champion since Kathy Whitworth in 1972-73.

"Obviously it feels wonderful," Sorenstam said. "I love coming down the stretch when it's exciting and hitting great shots when you need to. Winning never gets old."

Daniel had five birdies and no bogeys for a 5-under 67, just missing her final putt on 18 for a birdie that could have forced a playoff.

"I rolled it well on 18, but I needed to make birdie," said Daniel, whose first-round 62 tied a course record set by Sorenstam last year.

Asked whether she was disappointed, Daniel replied with a smile: "I opened with a 62 and didn't win the golf tournament, so I should be just a little disappointed."

But Daniel said she played well Sunday after a 1-over 73 in the second round that she had predicted would make it tough to fend off Sorenstam, a player Daniel compared to Mickey Wright as one of the best ever.

"And I've played with some of the greatest players in women's golf," Daniel said.

Sorenstam set the tone on her first hole of the day, landing under a tree on the left side of the fairway. But she punched out low and landed within 20 feet of the pin, making the birdie.

She gave back that stroke on the third hole with a three-putt bogey, then nearly made eagle on No. 5, settling for birdie before hitting the back-to-back eagles on the par-4 No. 6 and the par-5 No. 7.

"I was on fire for those three holes for sure," Sorenstam said.

But even with 47 career wins, Sorenstam said she could not catch up to Whitworth's total of 88.

"Eighty-eight is an incredible number," Sorenstam said. "That's double what I have and that's taken me 10 years. I don't have any intention of playing for another 10 years, and even if I did, I don't think I could achieve 88."

She also said she has no plans to enter another men's tournament after her appearance earlier this year at the Colonial to become the first woman to play on the PGA Tour in 58 years.

"I said that before I finished the Colonial, that this is a one-time opportunity," Sorenstam said. "It was fabulous, the best week golf-wise in my life. It just won't be the same if I did it again."

But Sorenstam says she still has plenty of goals left to achieve, including Player of the Year for 2003.

"It's been an incredible year, I think, in many ways," Sorenstam said.

The cut came at 2-over par, two strokes higher than last year, with 73 players making the final round.

Among those who missed the cut were Hilary Lunke, who hasn't made a cut in the six full-field events she has played since winning the U.S. Women's Open at Pumpkin Ridge in July.


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