The rare three-peat has happened only nine times in LPGA history, and Sorenstam is the only player to accomplish that feat twice. She won the Michelob Light Classic from 1997-99 and the Mizuno Classic from 2001-03.
She has won five of the 13 LPGA events she has played in this season and leads the ADT Official Money List once again.
Fresh off a win at last week's John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic presented by Ford, Sorenstam secured her fifth-straight five-win season, a feat that has only been accomplished twice before in LPGA history-by LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame members Mickey Wright (1960-64) and Kathy Whitworth (1965-69).
Against the scenic backdrop of Portland, Ore., 12 other tournament champions from 2004 will tee it up this week, so Sorenstam will have her hands full in her quest to take home yet another Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi title.
Included in this impressive group are three-time champions Cristie Kerr and Meg Mallon and two-time champions Lorena Ochoa and Karen Stupples. Other tournament champions teeing it up on the 6,327-yard course are Wendy Doolan, Moira Dunn, Catriona Matthew, Grace Park, Jennifer Rosales, Kim Saiki, Sherri Steinhauer and Karrie Webb.
In addition, seven other past Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi champions are competing in the 54-hole event: Danielle Ammaccapane (1998); Donna Andrews (1993); Michelle Estill (1991); Juli Inkster (1999); Chris Johnson (1997); Mi Hyun Kim (2000); and Betsy King (1988). Other Tour stars in the field include 2004 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year points leader Shi Hyun Ahn, second-place rookie Aree Song, LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member Beth Daniel, and Laura Davies, Natalie Gulbis and Christina Kim.
This will be a key week for Ahn and Song, as only three events remain that count toward the coveted Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award. Ahn has a hefty 177-point lead in the standings, so Song needs some very strong finishes in the coming weeks to have a shot at the title.
Last year, Daniel tied her career-low round of 62 (-10) in the first round to grab a four-stroke lead over Park, but a second-round, 1-over-par 73 left her in a three-way tie for the lead with Kerr and Sorenstam at 135 (-9). Sorenstam and Daniel battled it out on the final day, with Sorenstam carding a 6-under-par 66 and Daniel a five-under-par 67.
A late birdie by the Swede on the 17th hole left her a stroke ahead of Daniel at 201 (-15) and gave Sorenstam her fifth win of the season. Kerr carded a 3-under-par 69 in the final round to finish third, three strokes behind Sorenstam.