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Fischer Earns Exempt Status With Win

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Tina Fischer of Bad Nauheim, Germany captured her first LPGA Tour win Sunday, as the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship wrapped up its third and final round. Her win - worth $180,000 - earns her full exempt status for the 2002 season for the first time since she was a rookie.
 
Fischers friends doused her with celebratory soda on the 18th green shortly after recording a three-day total of 70-66-70=206.
 
Obviously Im very happy because thats what everybodys trying to do, you know, achieve out here, Fischer said of her first win. For me that means that I have an exemption for a few years now, dont have to worry that much, can go out and play, make a better schedule, not have to wait to get into the tournaments. And its wonderful.
 
During her final round, the Rolex first-time winner made three birdies and one bogey. Her 10-under-par total was just enough to edge out Emilee Klein and Tracy Hanson, who both finished tied for second, one stroke off the lead.
 
You know, I had a couple of chances. I just didnt get it in the hole, Hanson said. I figured if I could get one more birdie coming in, I had a chance. Seventeen and 18 are good finishing holes.
 
On No. 18 Fischer, unaware of her position, hit a solid approach shot with her 9-wood. It was a good swing, then I missed the putt.
 
I wasnt really sure if I had a one-shot lead,' Fischer said. 'I saw Tracy; I heard all the clapping. I thought she actually made birdie. I thought I needed a birdie.
 
Fischer missed a 15-foot putt on the 18th to finish with par.
 
By then I knew that I didnt need it but I still tried to make it anyway,' she said.
 
As rookie in 1999, Fischer returned to qualifying school in 2000 and finished tied for 14th. She lost the six-way playoff for the 14th and final exempt card.
 
She then played on the Futures Tour for the 2000 season and returned to the LPGA Tour in 2001 as a non-exempt player.
 
Of course, its a big difference, you know, to go back to a littler tour when youve been here and you go back to the Challenge Tour. But sometimes its good,' Fisher said.
 
You know, okay, Ive got to get there again and thats what I did.
 
Annika Sorenstam shot a final round 4-under-par 68, her best score of the event, and moved up the field ten positions to finish tied for 4th place with Lorie Kane. Kane also shot a final round 68. Both earned $57,365.
 
Sorenstam, ranked No. 1 in the world, has earned $1,666,306 in official money this season,
 
Charlotta Sorenstam, paired with older sister Annika during the first round, finished just behind her in a six-way tie with Sophie Gustafson, Jamie Hullett, Meg Mallon, Nancy Scranton and second-round leader Kris Tschetter for sixth place at 7-under-par. Each professional earned $30,997.
 
After two strong rounds in the 60s, Tschetter shot a disappointing final round of 3-over-par 75.
 
Karrie Webb, winner of two majors this year (U.S. Womens Open, McDonalds LPGA Championship) finished way down the list in a tie for 44th after recording her third consecutive score in the 70s. Webb shot a final round of 1-under and subsequently finished at 1-under-par (71-73-71=215), as well. Webb took home the comparatively paltry sum of $4,830.

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