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Archive for Sunday, June 1, 2003

Sorenstam in front after birdie binge

LPGA standout 5-under on last five holes

June 1, 2003

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— As her short par putt slipped by the edge of the cup, Annika Sorenstam looked up in disgust.

A three-putt bogey.

Even worse, her second three-putt bogey in a row.

Her putting cost her a chance to extend her historic stay at the Colonial last weekend. She wasn't about to let it cost her the lead on the LPGA Tour.

"I told my caddie, 'I've had enough. I'm playing great, I'm hitting good shots. Let's get this turned around. There's five more holes, let's just go get five birdies,'" Sorenstam said. "And that's what happened."

Sorenstam closed with birdies on the last five holes Saturday to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Kellogg-Keebler Classic. Her 6-under 66, the second-best round of the day, gives her a two-day score of 16-under 128.

Mhairi McKay had nine birdies on her way to a 64 and is at 130. Rosie Jones, who began the day tied with Sorenstam, shot a 71 and is five strokes off the lead.

Conditions at Stonebridge Country Club were better suited for football than golf. Temperatures were in the low 50s, with wind gusting up to 30 mph at times.

And the leaders didn't even have it as bad as the early groups. Sorenstam, Jones and McKay were in the last two groups, and the rain had stopped by the time they went off. The wind died down during their rounds, and the sun actually came out by the end of the day.

"I grew up in these type of conditions," said Sorenstam, a native of Stockholm, Sweden. "It's kind of nice with a little wind, I think. You've really got to hit the ball well."

But hitting the ball wasn't her problem. Sorenstam hit 13 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens for a second straight day. But her putts jumped from 25 to 29 Saturday.

She missed four birdie chances on the front nine when the ball scooted past or stopped short of the hole, including twice when it stopped within 6 inches of the hole.

And it got really ugly on the back nine. On the par-3 12th, Sorenstam's birdie putt slid by the hole and ran about three feet back. She just missed the par putt, settling for a bogey.

On the par-4 13th, Sorenstam left a long birdie putt far short and then missed a 4-footer for par.

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