Sorenstam Does the Unthinkable - Again

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Annika Sorenstam, standing at a mere 5-foot-6 inches tall, is one of the most dominant figures in modern day golf and has once again set the world of golf abuzz.
 
Many said her 2001 season could not be topped - eight tournament wins, setting or tying 30 LPGA scoring and money records, as well as her historic round of 59 at the Standard Register PING.
 
This didnt seem to worry young Annika much. For her encore performance the super-fit Swede made 2002 her eighth multiple-win season in a row by collecting 12 worldwide victories ' 10 of which were on the LPGA Tour where she tied or broke five of 10 tournament records along the way.
 
During her nine years as an LPGA member, Sorenstam has amassed 41 LPGA Tour titles - 18 of which were recorded in the last two seasons - and is tied with Babe Zaharias at ninth in all-time wins. In addition, Sorenstam has won the most tournaments by any international player in LPGA history.
 
Sorenstam became the first player in 34 years to win 10 times since Kathy Whitworth and Carol Mann did so in 1968. Betsy Rawls recorded 10 wins in a season in 1959. Mickey Wright also recorded 10 wins in 1961 and 1962 and went on to record 11 wins 1964 and 13 in 1963 for a total of 44 wins in four years.
 
Whitworth holds the record for most wins in a season with 13 in 1963, but percentage-wise, Sorenstam has surpassed her. In 1963 Whitworth entered 22 LPGA events and won 40.6% of them. This year Sorenstam had 24 global starts with 12 wins for a winning average of 50 percent, or 22 LPGA starts and 10 victories for a winning average of 45.45 percent.
 
The numbers clearly speak for themselves with Annika. She has earned $2,648,904 this season and is well on her way to crossing the $11 million mark in career earnings. Only two players ' Karrie Webb and Betsy King ' are even close to that figure and both currently lag behind by almost $4 million.

After recording an all-time LPGA record scoring average of 69.42 in 2001, she lowered her scoring average this year by almost a full stroke, leaving her with an excellent chance of becoming the first player ever to finish the year with a scoring average below 69.
 
In addition, with one event left this season, Sorenstam has a very real chance of setting an all-time scoring average on the LPGA Tour while collecting her fifth Vare trophy for lowest scoring average and fifth money-leader title.
 
Im a little in shock I think, Sorenstam said after her 10th victory. I set high goals for myself, but sometimes you wonder if you can achieve them.

Throughout her career shes struggled with putting and the majors. These are still two areas which Sorenstam has room for improvement.
 
During the nine full seasons she has played on the LPGA Tour, she has missed eight cuts - four during her rookie year. The other four were all in the last eight years and all were at majors. In 1997 she missed the cut at the U.S. Womens Open. That same year she also missed the cut at the du Maurier Classic. In 1999 she missed the cut at the U.S. Womens Open again. And this year she missed the cut at the British Womens Open.
 
As for putting, although she has improved dramatically from years past, her putting is still quite erratic. Sorenstams strength is in her ball-striking. She is both long and accurate. She currently holds the No. 1 position in top-10 finishes, rounds under par, scoring average and greens in regulation.
 
In 1999 Sorenstams driving average was 245.9. This year her driving average is 269.3. During the Samsung World Championship she averaged 284 for the week, saying she gained 20 yards with her new driver, a Great Big Bertha Two with a Fujikura 6 shaft, which she started using at the Williams Championship in September.
 
It was at this tournament, after a month off, that Sorenstam returned to play with both a new driver in her bag and a new putting grip. She had gone from a conventional grip to a cross-handed grip. And it apparently worked for her. She won the Williams and went on to win the next two tournaments as well.
 
As the year comes to a close and Sorenstam makes room in her trophy case, the 32-year-old has a lot to reflect upon. Ten LPGA victories, eight won with all four rounds in the 60s, 41 LPGA Tour victories and her current scoring average of 68.69 - almost a full shot lower than last year - and more than a full stroke better than Se Ri Pak, who is in second place with a scoring average of 69.78.
 
Karrie Webb, defending champion at the ADT Championship, said it best: I always thought of myself as fairly ambitious, but I dont think Ive ever met anyone as ambitious as she is
 
The 32-year-old from Stockholm, Sweden, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame upon the conclusion of the 2003 season. She qualified at the Welchs Circle K in March of 2000 after defeating Pat Hurst in a two-hole playoff. It was her first win of the season that year and it was a memorable one.