Sorenstams Bid for Grand Slam Trashed Early

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2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Annika Sorenstam played it safe, choosing a 4-wood for the tee shot on the long, uphill ninth hole. When she saw the ball curve right and land in the rough, she took three paces straight ahead and stuck that club in the trash can.
 
That was one of the few times Sorenstam let her frustration show Sunday, even though by the time she had reached No. 9 -- the trash can hole -- her quest to win the U.S. Open and move one leg away from an unprecedented Grand Slam was all but over.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika sorenstam didn't have much to look forward to after a bogey-bogey start on Sunday.
'It was just one of those weeks,'' she said. 'I got nothing.''
 
Trailing by five with 18 holes to play, she had promised she would be more aggressive, that she would hit more drivers and she did -- off a tree and into a creek on No. 1 and into the ankle-high rough on No. 2.
 
The result was two bogeys that put her seven strokes behind the leaders before they teed off. That deficit turned out to be way too big to overcome, even for the best player in the world.
 
She shot 6-over 77 and finished at 12-over 296 for the tournament, eight strokes behind leaders Morgan Pressel and Birdie Kim with three holes left to play.
 
Instead of keeping alive her chance at Grand Slam history, all Sorenstam had was an ugly little piece of personal history to record: This was the first 72-hole tournament in which she failed to break par since the 2001 U.S. Open. And her over-par rounds on Friday, Saturday and Sunday marked the first time she's failed to break par in three consecutive rounds at the same tournament since 2002.
 
``I am disappointed, but I am just going to leave here and I am going to know in my heart that I gave it all, it just didn't happen,'' she said.
 
Sorenstam's final round looked a lot like the first three at Cherry Hills. Aggressive plays like those on No. 1 and 2 didn't pay off. Conservatism didn't either.
 
``I had a game plan,'' she said. ``I am not going to second-guess myself. Normally when I come up with a plan it works, so I'm going to leave it at that.''
 
On the par-5 fifth, Sorenstam stuck with an iron off the tee, knowing it was a three-shot hole all the way. Her third shot, though, hit the green and trickled down, away from the flag. The result was a two-putt for par, the 25th straight par-5 she had played without making birdie.
 
She finally broke that streak on the 11th hole, the only par-5 she could reach in two, when a birdie there put her at 8 over. But it was way too late.
 
``I didn't feel like she played aggressive enough those first two rounds and today she was really having to chop out of the rough a lot,'' said her playing partner, Rosie Jones. ``I don't know if this course is really set up for her. She didn't seem comfortable on it.''
 
As Sorenstam walked off the sixth tee box -- the hole where she four-putted a day earlier to fall off the leaderboard -- a fan suggested to her that she could use a call from Tiger Woods, who like Annika, stayed stuck on nine Grand-Slam victories after his second-place finish last week at the U.S. Open.
 
``I sure could,'' Sorenstam quipped back.
 
But where Woods was able to get back into contention last week at Pinehurst, and wound up finishing second, Sorenstam never made a run.
 
Her bogey on No. 9 dropped her to 9 over, not a score that ever had a chance, even with the leaders struggling mightily.
 
On the par-5 17th, she went for the green in two for the first time all week and promptly found out why she had avoided that -- pushing her ball into the creek surrounding the green en route to her sixth of seven bogeys on the day.
 
Her second shot on 18 nestled up against the grandstand. As she walked up the 18th fairway, she got huge applause and she clapped back, acknowledging a crowd that came here to watch her run at history this week. She finished with her fourth straight bogey to close out her round, one more than she finished with Friday when her hopes were plunged into severe jeopardy.
 
Sorenstam still left Cherry Hills as the undisputed best player in the world -- but without the slice of history she openly set as a major goal of hers.
 
``When you want something really badly it just means a lot,'' Sorenstam said. ``It makes me appreciate that I have won two. Right now, I'd like to take my mind off golf for a little bit. Have some lunch. I gave it all. That's really all I can say. Disappointed, but I gave it all.''
 
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