Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2001

Sorenstam chasing history

Swede hoping to tie LPGA record with fifth straight victory

April 19, 2001

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— When Annika Sorenstam tees it up today in search of another LPGA record, she'll be using a special new ball with the number "59" to mark the record round she shot last month.

There could have been more. But "Four wins in a row going for a record fifth to tie Nancy Lopez's record" just didn't fit.

Already the holder of one of golf's most coveted records and one major championship this season, Sorenstam goes after a mark that has stood since Lopez broke onto the scene 23 years ago.

A win in the Longs Drugs Challenge this week would give her five straight, tying the achievement of Lopez during her electrifying rookie year in 1978. It would add another stamp to the best year in golf by anyone not named Tiger Woods.

"I know what's at stake and what I want to do," Sorenstam said Wednesday. "I'm excited I have this chance when I'm playing this well."

Sorenstam, who made up a 10-shot, final-round deficit with a 66 to win Saturday in Los Angeles, gets a chance at the record on a course where she has played well.

The Swede, in her eighth year on tour, has played six events, finishing second in her first two and winning the next four. Included in that streak was the first 59 ever shot in competition by a woman, in the second round of the Standard Register Ping in Phoenix, and her first major title in five years when she won the Nabisco Championship. Sorenstam is first in greens hit in regulation at nearly 84 percent, a key part of her being under par in 18 of 21 competitive rounds this year.

Sorenstam faces a few different challenges this week on the Twelve Bridges Golf Club in the Sacramento suburb of Lincoln. Juli Inkster has won the last two Longs Drugs Challenge tournaments here. If Inkster wins, Sorenstam's streak of four straight wins won't be the only streak she breaks. No American has won on the LPGA Tour so far this year.

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