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Stunner Francella Tops Annika in Playoff

2007 MasterCard ClassicHUIXQUILUCAN, Mexico -- Even Meaghan Francella found it hard believe: She actually beat Annika Sorenstam in a playoff for her first LPGA Tour victory.
'I can't describe it. It's something I've worked for my entire life,' the 24-year-old New Yorker said Monday after winning the rain-delayed MasterCard Classic in only her sixth LPGA Tour start. 'Annika is the best player in the world and I was little intimidated. ... I was on the third tee with her and I thought, `Man am I really doing this?' I thought I was dreaming. It was pretty exciting.'
Meaghan Francella
Meaghan Francella knocked off world No. 1 Annika Sorenstam. (Getty Images)
The former University of North Carolina star from Port Chester, N.Y., won with a 4-foot birdie putt on the fourth extra hole. She closed with a 3-under 69 to match Sorenstam (66) at 11-under 205 on the Bosque Real course -- the longest on the tour at 6,932 yards and also the highest at about 8,000 feet above sea level.
Francella, the 2003 Atlantic Coast Conference champion who earned her tour card last year with a fifth-place finish on the Futures Tour money list, made the winning 4-foot putt after Sorenstam missed a 7-foot birdie try.
'I wasn't expecting Annika to miss that putt,' Francella said. 'I just stayed in my moment and made that putt. I had nothing to lose out there today.'
Francella, who earned $180,000 for the breakthrough victory, birdied the par-4 16th to tie Sorenstam at 11 under and finished regulation with two straight pars.
Sorenstam, the two-time defending champion making her first start of the year, had seven birdies and a bogey -- on the 16th hole.
'I think I'm playing as good as I could have asked for,' Sorenstam said. 'It's tough reading the putting on the green. It's about who can hang in there and stay patient. This is my first tournament of the year and I feel very good about my game. I'm very excited about the rest of the year and the upcoming tournament in Arizona.'
Angela Stanford (67), Kyeong Bae (67) and Stacy Prammanasudh (71) tied for third at 8 under, and Mexican star Lorena Ochoa (70), Shi Hyun Ahn (67) and Hye Jung Choi (69) followed at 6 under.
'My error was in the first day of the tournament,' said Ochoa, who opened with a 71. 'After that, it took a lot of work to come back. The leaders were very far ahead. I can't say I had bad luck. It never depends on luck. The more practice you have and the better you hit the ball the more luck you have.'
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