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Red Hot Pepper Captures Arch Wireless Championship

Dottie Pepper has battled injuries this season but she's feeling no pain now. Pepper outplayed the top 30 players on the LPGA Tour with rounds of 68-71-69-71=279 (-9) to take home the $215,000 first place check and capture the coveted season-ending championship title.
 
Free Video - Registration Required Pepper Comments on her win at the Arch LPGA Championship.
 
Finishing in sole possession of second place at 6-under-par was Rachel Hetherington. While, after flirting with the lead, Leta Lindley and Annika Sorenstam finished tied for third at 5-under-par.
 
Lindley and Sorenstam shared a room in college, but they failed to share similar final round scores. Lindley had a final round score of even par while Sorenstam fell victim to her putting shooting a 4-over-par on Sunday.
 
Lori Kane, who also led the field at one point, shot a final round of 1-over to finish tied for fourth.
 
It was Annika Sorenstam - not Pepper - in the lead as the final round got underway but that lead would vanish as the two players made the turn. Pepper, paired with Sorenstam in the final group, started the day with a one-stroke deficit and quickly caught up with a birdie on the 4th. Both players would make the turn at 9-under-par.
 
It was on the 10th hole of the day that the tides turned for Pepper. Sorenstam and Pepper each made bogey, dropping back to 8-under. On the next hole, Pepper made birdie to regain outright ownership of the lead while Sorenstam's putting, once again, let her down.
 
Pepper lost a stroke on the 12th after carding her second bogey of the day - then recovered three holes later with her final birdie of the day and never looked back
 
'It was typical of a windy day, lots of ups-and-downs,' said the season-ending champion. 'First one was at the 4th. Hit 8-iron in there to 15 feet. Bogeyed the 5th after driving it in the fairway bunker, hitting it long over the green, nearly into Flagler County. I had about 25 feet for par - actually, hit a pretty good putt. Got it right back at the 7th. I hit 5-iron in there to three and a half feet. Made bogey at 10. Missed a putt from about 18 feet for par there.'
 
A fierce competitor in her own right, Pepper overcame both back and wrist injuries that had plagued her for much of this year.
 
'Tom (Boers) was pretty confident through the whole thing that I may not play again for the rest of the season,' Dottie said of her doctor. 'But once we started getting things on the right track, things were progressing so nicely, he had to back me off because I was doing too much, on my own doing too much. I was anxious to play. It's kind of one of those Catch-22s where you start to feel good, so you try to do more. His theory is: You're starting to feel good, let's do a little less. That was very difficult for me because I was champing at the bit.'
 
Pepper came into this championship with confidence. Just two weeks earlier, at the Sun Microsystems Par 3 Challenge, the 35-year-old outplayed the likes of Freddy Couples, Ben Crenshaw, and Lee Trevino to win $130,000.
 
With this season in the bag it seems like Pepper will be one to watch as we look towards January. 'Can't wait for January, really,' Pepper said. 'I'm pretty well-motivated to work hard over these next, you know, six weeks. It will be great.'