Sorenstam Cruises to Evian Masters Title


Evian-les-Bains, France - Annika Sorenstam carded a three-under 69 Saturday to cruise to a four-shot victory at the Evian Masters. Sorenstam finished at 19-under-par 269 for her fifth win of the season.
'I love this event,' said Sorenstam, who collected $315,000 for the win. 'It's kind of like the women's Masters for us. It's a beautiful setting, a first- class event, a top field. It's one of the biggest tournaments on our schedule.'
Maria Hjorth became the second player to match the course record this week with a round of eight-under 64. She finished alongside Mi Hyun Kim in a tie for second at 15-under-par 273.
Sorenstam enjoyed a four-shot lead at the start of the final round and never looked back. Her lead shrank to two shots after Kim collected three straight birdies from the third and Hjorth pulled within three late in the round but the outcome was never in doubt.
The Swede continued her dominating play with a three-foot birdie at the par-4 third at Evian Masters Golf Club to reach 17-under.
At the par-5 seventh, Sorenstam reached the green in two and two-putted for another birdie. She climbed to 19-under at the par-4 10th after she knocked her eight-iron inside seven feet of the hole.
Sorenstam three-putted for her only bogey of the round at the par-3 14th but regained the shot three holes later at the 17th.
The 31-year-old landed her tee shot within one foot of the cup. She tapped in for birdie to break the previous tournament record by two strokes.
Sorenstam earned her 36th career victory on the LPGA Tour and second at this event. In 2000 she ousted Karrie Webb in a playoff to win the tournament.
'I've won a lot, and I love to win,' said Sorenstam. 'I think the more I've won, I realize how much winning means to me. It never gets old.'
Last year Sorenstam achieved her fifth victory of the season at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship in May. In 2002, Sorenstam waited until June to grab No. 5 but she feels her game is above the standards of the year before.
'With the way I'm playing now, I really feel like I'm playing better than last year,' said Sorenstam, who cemented a spot in this year's Solheim Cup with the win. 'I'm striking the ball better and I'm making more putts, so in turn I'm scoring better. That's what I'm looking for.'
Hjorth played a flawless round on the course by the lake. She had three birdies on the front side and added another five on the inward nine. Hjorth had a chance to set a new course record at the last but her birdie putt skimmed the hole.
'I just thought it would break more than it did,' said Hjorth. 'Maybe I hit it too firm to take the break. It was a good putt, it just didn't drop in.'
Laura Diaz fired a seven-under 65 to finish at 14-under-par 274. She was joined by Se Ri Pak, who earned her second LPGA Championship last week, in a tie for fourth.
Vicki Goetze-Ackerman was alone in sixth at 13-under-par 275. Grace Park, Karine Icher and Leta Lindley were one shot further back at 12-under-par 276.
Cristie Kerr struggled to a round of two-over 74. She finished alone in 10th at nine-under-par 279.
Full field scores from the Evian Masters