Sorenstams International team wins Lexus Cup

RSS

SINGAPORE ' Annika Sorenstam celebrated two big victories in her second-to-last event before retiring.
 
For starters Sunday in the Lexus Cup, the International team captain waited out a lightning delay to finish off Asian counterpart Se Ri Pak 3 and 2 in the opening singles match, the longtime stars first match-play showdown.
 
A couple of hours later, American Christina Kim gave Sorenstam an even bigger victory, birdieing the par-5 18th against Namika Omata for a halve and the winning half-point in the three-day event at Singapore Island Country Club.
 
Its one thing to be inside the ropes in control, but when youre cheering for everyone you want to help them however you can, said Sorenstam, set to end her Hall of Fame career next week in the Ladies European Tours Dubai Ladies Masters.
 
I kept getting goose bumps after goose bumps out there. I was really into it. Im really proud of this team for trying so hard. I could not have asked for a better ending. There is nothing like a team event and, when you pull it all together, the atmosphere and camaraderie is one of a kind.
 
Kims halve gave Sorenstams International team a 12 1/2 -11 1/2 victory, ending the sides two-year losing streak and evening the series 2-2.
 
Im amazed it came down to my match, said Kim, the outcome left to her and Omata after the 11th and 12th matches ended early. I think I started walking before I even hit the putt out there. This is such a thrill. To be here and to win for Annika is the greatest feeling. To have it come down to me. I was scared blankless
 
Kim was asked about Sorenstam ' with Sorenstam listening.
 
Shes been a huge icon in golf in general, Kim said. Shes a true icon. Shes one of those people you come across once in a lifetime. We didnt only know her, but competed against her. Truly an honor. The only thing left is making babies. The passion, everything that youve done is a milestone. Youve been a historic person.
 
Pak bogeyed three of the first five holes to hand Sorenstam a 3-up lead, then won Nos. 6 and 8 to cut the deficit to one. Sorenstam parred the 12th to make it 2-up, then matched Pak with birdies on 13 and 14 before adding a third straight birdie on 15 to restore her 3-up cushion. Then, after the delay, both parred 16 to end the match.
 
Shes done so many things on the LPGA. Were going to miss her, Pak said. Im not used to her being gone. I played with her two hours ago. Of course, Im going to realize I cant see her as much. Shes probably one of the great players in the LPGA. Everybody dreams to be like her.
 
Angela Stanford, Katherine Hull, Helen Alfredsson and Natalie Gulbis also earned full points for the International team, while Suzann Pettersen and Karen Stupples halved their matches.
 
Stanford beat Seon Hwa Lee 4 and 3, Lees second straight loss after opening her Lexus Cup career 7-0-0. Hull edged Jeong Jang 1-up to finish the week 3-0-0, Alfredsson topped Inbee Park 3 and 2, and Gulbis beat Mayumi Shimomura 2 and 1.
 
Gulbis also talked about Sorenstam after the event.
 
What I will miss the most is what she brings to tournaments, Gulbis said. Not only is she one of the best players, but class and confidence and how she treats the fans, sponsors and fellow competitors.
 
Pettersen halved with Yani Tseng, and Stupples split with Eun Hee Ji. Pettersen, from Norway, teamed with Sorenstam on Saturday when the Swede holed a 45-foot eagle chip for a final-hole victory.
 
Shes been a great ambassador for womens golf, Pettersen said. Weve all looked up to her and enjoyed her time as a golfer.
 
Candie Kung won her third straight match for Asia, and Sarah Lee, Na Yeon Choi and Song Hee Kim also took their singles matches.
 
Kung beat Nikki Campbell 3 and 2, Sarah Lee edged Nicole Castrale 1-up, Choi beat Paula Creamer 3 and 2, and Song Hee Kim topped Cristie Kerr 1-up.
 
The teams were tied after each of the first two days, splitting the opening alternate-shot matches and Saturday best-ball matches.
 
Im really proud of my whole team because this is a such a really tight match since the first day, 3-3, then 6-6 and then nobody knows until the last group comes in, Pak said. The most exciting ever. It made me nervous.
 
Asia won 15-9 last year at The Vines in Perth, Australia, for its second straight victory. The International team won the inaugural matches 16-8 in 2005 at Tenah Merah in Singapore, and Asia won 12 1/2 -11 1/2 at Tenah Merah in 2006.