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Sorenstam Simply Isn't Good Enough to Defeat Pak

March 24, 2003|From Associated Press

PHOENIX — Annika Sorenstam was plodding along, trying to concentrate on her own game. That might be a good strategy to use against the men at the PGA Tour's Colonial, but it didn't work Sunday against Se Ri Pak.

Sorenstam blew a two-shot lead and Pak caught her with a pair of eagles on the front nine on her way to a 64 and the championship of the Safeway Ping tournament. She finished with a 23-under-par 225.

In the end, Sorenstam wasn't even a factor, finishing in a three-way tie for third with Hee-Won Han and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, four strokes back after shooting a 71.

"I think I played well. It was one of those days I just had a lot of lip-outs," Sorenstam said. "That's golf. If you play golf long enough you know these things happen."

Pak shot 30 on the front side to take the lead, then held off Grace Park with a scrambling par after hitting it in the water on the 17th hole. She finished with a flourish, hitting her second shot to tap-in range on the final hole for birdie.

Sorenstam, meanwhile, struggled with her wedges and putter all day and was never in contention on the back nine. After three days of making birdies, she made 17 pars and only one birdie long after it didn't matter.

"I was playing my own game, one shot at a time," Sorenstam said. "I feel good. Nineteen under, I'll take that any time."

Pak, who had five wins last year to Sorenstam's 11, won the first head-to-head showdown between the LPGA tour's two top players by being aggressive from the first tee on.

Sorenstam, the most dominant player in women's golf, made only one birdie -- two-putting the par-five 10th hole -- and parred the rest. It was the second year in a row she blew a final-round lead at the Moon Valley Country Club, where she lost last year in a playoff to Rachel Teske.

Karrie Webb, who was tied with Sorenstam, Pak and Meunier-Lebouc after three rounds, was never a factor in the final round. She started out three shots back and shot a two-over 38 on the front.

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