Sorenstam Shatters Records in Mizuno Win
OTSU, Japan (AP) _ Annika Sorenstam added to her growing list of achievements on Sunday with a record-breaking victory in the Mizuno Classic.
Sorenstam fired a 6-under-par 66 at the Seta Golf Course to secure her sixth LPGA Tour player of the year award. She also rewrote the record books, breaking the LPGA Tour record for a 54-hole event with a 24-under 192 total.
She shared the previous record of 21-under 195 with Wendy Ward.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Swede became the first player in LPGA Tour history with three consecutive victories in more than one event. She also won the Michelob Light Classic from 1997 to 1999, and will have chances to match that feat next year in the Kellogg-Keebler Classic and Safeway Classic.
Sorenstam carded six birdies, including two on the par-5 closing holes, for her third straight bogey-free round and a nine-stroke victory over compatriot Sophie Gustafson and South Koreans Grace Park and Se Ri Pak.
``I came here to set many more records,″ said Sorenstam. ``My goal every year is to win the money list, the Vare Trophy and the player of the year. Se Ri is going to play a couple more (events) than me so to win here was important.″
With two events remaining, Sorenstam clinched LPGA player of the year honors with her sixth victory of the season. She can’t win the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average because the LPGA requires at least 70 rounds to be eligible and Sorenstam has only 56.
``The Mizuno Classic has been good to me,″ added Sorenstam. ``This is the first time I’ve had no bogeys in a 54-hole round and the first time with no 3-putts so I was very consistent and solid.″
At 33, Sorenstam already has won 48 times and the career Grand Slam. She is seventh in career victories on the LPGA Tour; no other active player has more than 35 wins. She is the only woman to shoot 59, the only one to go over US$2 million in a season, which she has done twice.
Within two years, she became more dominant on the LPGA Tour than Tiger Woods was on the PGA Tour.
Sorenstam pocketed the tournament’s US$169,000 winner’s prize, bringing her total earnings for this season to US$1,914,006.
Sorenstam won this tournament last year for the 10th of her 11 2002 LPGA Tour titles, beating Park by two strokes. She also won in 2001 at Musashigaoka.