Clutch Sorenstam captures fifth major title

Monday, June 9, 2003

WILMINGTON, Del. -- Annika Sorenstam faced this kind of pressure at Colonial, only this time she didn't miss the cut -- she won a major.

Three weeks after testing her game on the PGA Tour, Sorenstam came up with clutch shots down the stretch Sunday and was flawless in the playoff, making a routine par on the toughest hole to beat Grace Park and win the LPGA Championship.

Sorenstam won her fifth major among 45 career victories, and had to work harder than ever for this one.

Leading by four shots going into the final round at waterlogged DuPont Country Club, she closed with a 1-over 72 and had to make a par on No. 18 in regulation with a 7-wood from the first cut of rough just to get into a playoff.

"She kept the pressure on me," Sorenstam said. "I made it when I needed to."

Park came up short of the 18th green in the playoff and missed a 12-foot par putt that would have extended the playoff. Sorenstam, who hit a 6-iron into 20 feet, tapped in her par putt and skipped across the green and into the arms of caddie Terry McNamara.

The reason she became the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour was to elevate her game for moments like this.

Sorenstam won't get any style points for this one, but she'll take it. The McDonald's LPGA Championship is one of two majors she had never won.

A victory this summer in the Women's British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes would make her the fourth woman in the modern era to complete the career Grand Slam.

Park also came through in her first time in contention at a major championship.

She was seven strokes behind when she arrived at DuPont early Sunday morning to complete the rain-delayed third round and finished off a 70 to creep closer to Sorenstam.

The 24-year-old from South Korea poured it on in the final round, closing with a 4-under 67 that often looked like it would be good enough to win.

But Sorenstam didn't buckle.

Sorenstam finished at 6-under 278 and earned $240,000 for her 45th career victory.

Park, in a playoff for the first time on tour, matched her best score in a major. She also had a 67 at the 1999 U.S. Women's Open as an amateur.

They were the only players who finished under par. Rosie Jones (71), Rachel Teske (71) and Beth Daniel (72) tied for third at even-par 284.

Capital Open

POTOMAC, Md. -- Rory Sabbatini put on a fine Sunday finish without the usual Sunday paycheck, shooting a 68 to take a one-shot lead after three rounds of the rain-delayed FBR Capital Open.

Sabbatini was 11-under par with a 202 total, but he'll have to come back today as he aims for a second career PGA Tour victory. The final two rounds of the tournament were moved back a day after steady downpours wiped out play Saturday.

Swede Nicklas Fasth, a member of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team a year ago, shot a 67 to move into second place with a 203 total. Duffy Waldorf was three shots off the lead in third place, while Fred Funk, Padraig Harrington, Chris DiMarco, J.L. Lewis, Rich Beem and Tom Gillis were another stroke back in a tie for fourth.

Senior PGA

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- John Jacobs shot a 2-under 68 in the final round Sunday to claim a two-stroke victory over Bobby Wadkins in the Senior PGA Championship.

Jacobs, 58, birdied the 15th and 16th holes to pull away from Wadkins in the first major championship of the Champions Tour season. He finished at 4-under 276.

Bruce Lietzke and defending champion Fuzzy Zoeller tied for third, three shots behind the oldest player to win the Senior PGA since 61-year-old Pete Cooper won in 1976.

-- From wire reports

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