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Kane Comes From Behind for Win at Takefuji Classic

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Lorie Kane used a final-round 66 to turn a two-shot deficit at the beginning of Saturday's round into a two-shot margin of victory over Annika Sorenstam at the LPGA Takefuji Classic.
 
Kane's 54-hole total of 11-under-par 205 broke the tournament record of 207, established in the inaugural Takefuji Classic last year by Sorenstam and Karrie Webb. The win was Kane's first of the year and her fourth in the the span of just seven months.
 
'I didn't think about winning the golf tournament until I hit my second shot on 18,' said Kane, who carded seven birdies against a single bogey on Saturday. 'I've just never played a round of golf where I have been so calm. I was very patient and very confident with the way I was swinging the club.'
 
The 36-year-old Canadian officially shed her status as a bridesmaid with a breakthrough victory at the Michelob Light Classic last August. She came into that event with nine career runner-up finishes, including four playoff losses. She improved her playoff record to 2-4 with her second and third victories last season, recording extra-hole wins at the New Albany Golf Classic (over Mi Hyun Kim) and Mizuno
Classic (over Sophie Gustafson).
 
'I've just got a lot more confidence, and it's about having faith in my own game,' said Kane, who earned the first-place check for $127,500 to replace Webb at the top of the season money list. 'I'm playing strong from my driver to the putter. I'm patient with my golf game, that's the key. Before I was trying too hard. Way too hard.'
 
Sorenstam, who was the overnight leader at seven-under, fought back from a poor start with five birdies on the back nine, including three straight to cap her round. But the 30-year-old Swede came up short with a 70 to finish in second at nine-under, dropping her record to 16-13 when entering the final round with the lead.
 
'Hopefully it gets better from here,' said Sorenstam, who was making her first start of 2001. 'This was a good week, and I'm happy with my game. Maybe at the start of the day I was hoping for something else, but I played decent.'
 
Kane started Saturday by birdieing the par-four first hole for the third straight day. She knocked a wedge to four feet for birdie at the next hole to tie playing partner Sorenstam at seven-under, then had the lead when Sorenstam three-putted for bogey at the third.
 
Kane began to pull away at the par-three fifth, where she hit short of the green with her tee shot but chipped in for birdie. Sorenstam then fell three shots off the lead when she also missed the green at five but couldn't get up and down to save par.
 
After Kane birdied the seventh, 11th and 12th holes with putts in the six- to eight-foot range to get to 11-under, she suffered her only mistake of the day when she missed a three-foot putt to save par at 14. She recovered the shot with a nine-iron to six feet at the 16th.
 
Sorenstam matched Kane's birdie at 16 when she rolled in a 20- foot putt to get to seven-under, then added an 11-footer at the 17th and a two-putt at the par-five 18th to finish two shots back.
 
Cristie Kerr, who pulled to within two of Kane with back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11, finished with a three-under 69 for sole possession of third place at eight-under 208.
 
First-round leader Maria Hjorth rebounded from a 75 in the second round to post a five-under 67 on Saturday. She tied for fourth at seven-under with Pat Hurst, who closed with a 69.
 
Webb, who defeated Sorenstam in a playoff for the title here last year, failed to get on track early in the final round. The Australian was two-over through the first 11 holes, then went three-under over the last five for a 71 and sixth place at minus-six.
 
Webb, the 2000 LPGA Player of the Year, is without a victory in four events this season after winning each of her first three starts last year.