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For Pak, It's a Record Victory

June 10, 2002|From Associated Press

WILMINGTON, Del. — The LPGA Championship was one for the ages, all right.

Only not for 45-year-old Beth Daniel.

Daniel's bid to become the oldest major champion in LPGA history buckled under relentless pressure from Se Ri Pak, who turned a four-shot deficit into a three-shot victory Sunday and set a record she knew nothing about.

The 24-year-old South Korean became the youngest woman to claim four majors, surpassing Mickey Wright, who was 25 when she won her fourth of 13 majors at the 1960 LPGA Championship.

"I really didn't have any idea I made a new record," she said. "Thank God I didn't know."

Pak had enough on her mind during another difficult day at DuPont Country Club--like staying in the short grass, hitting the greens and avoiding big numbers.

She handled it with ease, living up to her reputation of playing her best under the toughest conditions.

Pak closed with a one-under 70, the second time she has come from four strokes behind in the final round to win a major.

"She did everything she needed to do to win this tournament," Daniel said. "She hit fairways, she hit greens, she made putts--and I did none of it."

It was a tough loss for Daniel, a Hall of Famer with 32 victories, but none since 1995.

She was poised to become the oldest woman to win a major, surpassing Babe Zaharias, who was 42 years 11 months when she won the 1954 U.S. Women's Open.

"I think the ghost of Babe Zaharias stepped on my ball," Daniel said.

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