LPGA Tour Top 5 in 2004

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The 2004 LPGA season was an historic one. Annika Sorenstam earned her 50th career tour victory. Se Ri Pak qualified for the Hall of Fame. And scoring records fell by the wayside. But many of the most memorable moments came by way of The Comeback. From Doolan trumping Sorenstam to Sorenstam trumping Park, here are the top 5 tournaments this season.
 
No. 5 -- Evian Masters

04 Evian MastersWendy Doolan did to Annika Sorenstam at this years Evian Masters what Sorenstam had done so many times to so many others. Doolan started the final round in France trailing Sorenstam by Wendy Doolanfive shots. The 35-year-old Australian, who had only two career LPGA victories to her credit ' compared to Annikas 52, then played a five-hole stretch in the middle of her final round in 7 under par. It was almost as if Doolan and Sorenstam had swapped identities, as Annika played her first 15 holes in 2 over. Heading to the 16th, Sorenstam found herself four down, before birdieing her final three holes. But it wasnt enough. Doolan overcame a bogey at 16 with a closing birdie at the last for a 65 and a one-stroke victory over the defending champion.
 
There were a lot of birdies and eagles there in a few holes and I'll cherish that for a long time, Doolan said. Every win is a special win and that's why we are out here practicing hard each week and when it came down to it, I made the putt that matters.
 
No. 4 -- Samsung World Championship

Sorenstam turned the table at the Samsung World Championship ' not on Doolan, but rather on her newest rival, Grace Park. This time, it was Sorenstam who was three down to start the final round of an Annika Sorenstamevent. And this time, it was Sorenstam who would storm back to win. Park, who was very proud of the fact that, dating back to her amateur days, she had never blown a lead when entering the final round, overcame a rocky start on Sunday to maintain a three-stroke advantage after 12 holes at Bighorn. Then Sorenstam went into overdrive, while Park broke down. Sorenstam pitched in for eagle at the par-5 15th, and then birdied 17. Park, on the other hand, bogeyed 13, 17 and 18. When the dust settled, it was Sorenstam who was up by three ' with no holes left to play. It was another memorable comeback victory for Annika, and a bitterly disappointing defeat for Park, who remarked, Im the biggest loser.
 
It's a wonderful day, said Sorenstam, who won for the 54th time on the LPGA Tour. I'm very pleased with the way I played today. To win this championship again means a lot to me.
 
No. 3 -- Weetabix Womens British Open

04 Weetabix WomenAnother remarkable come-from-behind victory ' this one authored by Karen Stupples. It wasnt the deficit overcome, however, which was so impressive; it was the manner in which she came back to Karen Stuppleswin. Stupples kick-started the 2004 LPGA season with a record victory at the Welchs/Frys Championship. She shot 22-under 258 that week in Tucson and would again showcase that firepower to capture her first major championship. Rachel Teske and Heather Bowie sat on the third-round lead at Sunningdale, but Stupples, who was one back, ripped that right out from under them immediately on Sunday. Stupples eagled the par-5 first, and then holed a 5-iron for double eagle at the par-5 second. She stalled with six pars and one bogey over her next seven holes, only to ignite once again as soon as she made the turn. She made five birdies to one bogey on the back side for an 8-under 64. Amazingly, it wasnt even the lowest round of the championship. Finlands Minea Blomqvist posted a 10-under 62 Saturday to become the first-ever player ' male or female ' to break 63 in a major. The record belonged to the Fin, but the trophy went to the Englishwoman, who finished five clear of second place.
 
I knew I needed to get off to a good start, said Stupples, who even shocked herself with her beginning. It just shows you never to give up and you should always keep fighting for your dreams because you never know what is going to happen. If you work hard enough and try hard enough, good things will happen for you.
 
No. 2 -- U.S. Womens Open

2004 U.S. WomenCertain tournaments define certain players ' for better or for worse. The 2004 U.S. Womens Open will forever define Meg Mallon ' for the better. Mallon was already an Open champion when she arrived Meg Mallonat the Orchards Golf Club, but that victory came way back in 91. She had since recorded 11 top-5 finishes in majors, but only one of those was a win. After three rounds in her home state of Massachusetts, she was in good standing to get another good finish. Still, she needed something special to break through and claim victory. And her putter was special, indeed, on Sunday. Trailing overnight leader Jennifer Rosales by three, and deadlocked with Annika Sorenstam and Kelly Robbins to start the final round, Mallon needed only 25 putts in winning her fourth career major. Her closing 65 was the lowest final round by a champion in the 59-year history of the event, and good enough for a two-shot win over Sorenstam. Mallons round included a 50-foot birdie at the fourth to get her going and a 25-foot par save at the 15th to keep her in command. Not even a late Annika rally was enough to catch the 41-year-old, who felt fated to win with many of her family members watching in the gallery.
 
My brothers and sister were here today and it was a family effort,' said Mallon. I couldn't even look at them all day today because I knew they were getting emotional, as was I.
 
No. 1 -- Kraft Nabisco Championship

The biggest question entering the 2004 LPGA season was: Can Annika Sorenstam win the single-season Grand Slam? That question was answered early with a resounding No. The years first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, was contested just four tournaments Grace Parkinto the season. And after opening 71-76, the Soren Slam was and void. Annikas absence ' she didnt miss the cut; just wasnt in contention ' left center stage for a pair of youthful talents. Grace Park and Aree Song shared the lead through 54 holes at Mission Hills Country Club. Park, who had one win in each of her first four seasons on tour, was in search of her first major. Song, an accomplished amateur, was a rookie on tour, having made the cut in each of her first four Kraft Nabisco appearances prior to turning professional. It was the veteran who seemed in control as the two headed down the stretch on Sunday. Park birdied four consecutive holes to take a two-stroke advantage with just six holes to play. It was still that way when the two reached the 485-yard, par-5 18th. Song, who was trying to become the youngest woman to ever win a major, played aggressively, roping a 7-wood within 30 feet of the hole. Park, meanwhile, took the conservative route, laying up short of the water with her second shot and then hitting her third to 6 feet. Needing eagle to have any chance of forcing a playoff, Song drilled the lengthy effort right in the center of the cup and pumped her fist in the air and shouted, 'Yes! Yes! Yes!' Inwardly stunned, Park twice backed off her winning opportunity before finally converting the biggest putt of her life.
 
'My knees, my arms, my whole body was shaking,' said Park. Right in the heart. I made it. I did it.
 
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