Sorenstam Wins 40th Event at Samsung


VALLEJO, Calif. -- Annika Sorenstam fired a 7-under 65 Sunday to win the Samsung World Championship by six strokes over Cristie Kerr. Sorenstam, who finished at 22-under-par 266, earned her ninth victory on the LPGA Tour this season and the 40th of her career.
With the victory, Sorenstam tied Nancy Lopez for the third most wins in a single season. Only Mickey Wright (13) and Kathy Whitworth (10) have had more titles in one year. Sorenstam also became the ninth player in LPGA Tour history with 40 or more career victories.
'I didn't think about the records until last year when I won eight times and I looked and saw what have the other ladies done,' commented Sorenstam. 'Then this year, I wanted to beat last year. So now that I'm here, I know what the great players have done before. From this week and next week, I didn't know if I was going to play, and I thought that maybe I needed a break but I'm going to go full force these last few events.'
Sorenstam and Kerr were tied entering Sunday at Hiddenbrooke Golf Club, but the first hole was the turning point of the final round. Sorenstam birdied after hitting a sand-wedge to four feet while Kerr struggled with a double bogey.
'I told my caddie, there are a few holes out there that I'd like to improve and one of those was No. 1,' said Sorenstam, the top-ranked player in the world. 'So to make birdie there, that was important to me. I wanted to improve on the front, and yes, I saw what Cristie was doing.'
Kerr hit her drive into a fairway bunker before finding a hazard with her second shot.
'I struggled with my swing, plain and simple,' Kerr said, who finished at 16-under-par 272 after a round of 71. 'I just bladed a sand-wedge out of there. It went about 40 yards further than it should have gone and into the hazard.'
Sorenstam padded her lead with birdies at the fifth, seventh and ninth and increased her lead to seven strokes with a birdie at the 12th. The Swede then added birdies at the 15th and 18th to finish with a bogey-free 65.
'Well, it's never over. That's something I've learned,' said Sorenstam, who won for the third time at this event. 'But my game felt so good, and after the first hole, I knew that this was going to be a good day. Once I rolled in that birdie on 12, I think I looked up and saw that I had a seven-shot lead, so I felt quite comfortable.'
Kerr followed her double at the first with a bogey on the second hole. She settled down from there and fought back to even-par for her round with a birdie on the 15th. Kerr got within five strokes of Sorenstam with a birdie at 16, but ran out of holes in the comeback attempt.
'She started hitting it closer and closer as we got toward the end,' mentioned Kerr in reference to Sorenstam. 'But hey, anything can happen. I just tried to make birdies. I didn't ever say to myself, 'I'm playing for second.' You always try to think that you have a chance to win, but at some point, you realize that you're not going to. Unless you get help from her, but that's not going to happen. She kept playing smart.'
Michele Redman finished alone in third place at 15-under-par 273. Se Ri Pak and Rosie Jones tied for fourth at 13-under-par 275. Lorie Kane and Rachel Teske ended two shots behind that pair. Teske, who also shot a 65, tied Sorenstam for the low round of the day.
Carin Koch and Juli Inkster finished tied for eighth place at 10-under-par 278. Last year's winner, Dorothy Delasin, and Mi Hyun Kim were a shot back at 9-under-par 279.
Laura Diaz and Paula Marti shared 12th at 7-under. Grace Park ended at 6-under and alone in 14th place, two strokes clear of Hee-Won Han. Karrie Webb, the 2002 Women's British Open champion, finished alone in 16th at 3-under-par 285.
Final results from the Samsung World Championship