I gave it my all and now Im here, the 42-time LPGA Tour champion said. Im just so excited. I feel like Im walking on clouds. Life is going my way again.
She has now set or tied 20 new records this season and brings home another $215,000 in first-place prize money. She is the first woman to win 11 times on tour in one season since Mickey Wright did so in 1964.
The purses have greatly increased since Wrights day. This year alone Sorenstam walked away with $2.86 million in earnings, or 64.5% of all available first-place money in the 23 LPGA events that she entered.
This is a staggering statistic when you consider there are just over 200 active LPGA members competing against her. As an interesting comparison, if she were on the PGA Tour, her season earnings would place her eighth on the money list just behind Rich Beem.
Her four-day scores of 67-70-70-68=275 helped to set a new season scoring average of 68.70. She trimmed .72 shots off the old record, which she set last year, to become the first time tour player to record a year-end scoring average under 69.
Does she have goals laid out for next year? Not at this moment, she said. But Im sure I can come up with some.
Right now, in her own words, she is totally fried. 'I was fried after 15 holes today. And I kept telling my caddie, just give me energy. We've got to do it. Three more holes. Give it all and there will be no more holes to play all year.'
Sorenstam, who won 13 titles worldwide this season, used that goal as her mantra: 'Thirteen. Thirteen. I've got to get my 13 wins. I wasn't going to let it go. That was in my mind. I was tied for the lead or I was one behind or one up. I mean I was right there. I could almost touch the trophy. But that's what kept me going.'
For most of the day the solid play of Australias Rachel Teske made the final round of the ADT Championship a two-woman race.
Teske had no idea that she was in contention after she put the heat on Sorenstam with her eagle on the 338-yard, par-4 10th which moved her to 11-under, matching the Swedes lead.
I knew I was up there. I knew I was close. But I didnt look at the leaderboard until ' I think at No. 11, the Queenslander said.
Teske, who birdied the 16th the last three days, did so again Sunday to move to 12-under, but by that time Sorenstam had moved to 13-under. Teske lost momentum when her drive off the par-3 17th tee landed on a sharp downhill bank, right of the green.
On No. 17 I really didnt hit a good shot ' hit it skinny right. I had a pretty clean little chip and the lie was all right but... Teske said of her double bogey on 17.
Im disappointed on how I played all day. I was really up and down and really couldnt get a rhythm all day. I just didnt concentrate very well today. You can hit a bad shot technically but mentally you should always be there and I didnt do a good job at that all day.
Annikas played great to keep playing as well as she has for as long as she has. Its fantastic to learn from. Teske, who took home $115,000 for her second-place finish after recording scores of 72-66-68-72=278, said.
Sorenstam is the first player to be named Player of the Year on both the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour since Laura Davies claimed both titles in 1996. This is her fifth Rolex Player of the Year trophy. Im definitely not going to forget this year,' she said while receiving her trophy this week.
This has been a banner year for the Swede. Not only did she put to shame all the nay-sayers with a season that topped 2001, she managed to dramatically improve her putting average which was 100th in 2001.
Prior to this week, she was ranked 38th in this category. Asked whether or not she would be invincible if her putting improved the driven Swede replied, I agree.
Confidence is not one of Sorenstams weaknesses.
Defending champion Karrie Webb had a roller coaster day, finding way too much water throughout her round and dropping off the lead.
Webb made birdie on the par-4 second hole of the day only to drop back a shot on the next hole. She recovered with a birdie on the fourth, and then lost a shot on the par-3 fifth. On hole No. 6 aggressive play cost her two shots. Webb drove the ball on the dogleg right, right of the fairway and found water; double bogey moved her back to 7-under. From then on she was never really a contender again.
Patricia Meunier-Lebouc made a big check this week. The Frenchwomans strong performance netted her $57,000 for her fourth-place finish.
Rosie Jones made a late charge making the turn at 2-under par and moving to 6-under for the championship. In all, Jones recorded 15 pars, two birdies and one bogey. Jones tied with Meg Mallon for fifth, and took home $46,000.
Beth Bauer, 2002 LPGA Rookie of the Year, was as gracious as any seasoned pro during the awards ceremony. Its such a good experience for me to be playing out here and have all my dreams came true this year, Bauer, the only rookie to qualify for the event, said. She finished the four-day tournament tied with Kelly Robbins at even-par 288, winning $20,250 in prize money.
Full-field scores from the ADT Championship