Sorenstam cruises to victory

By Doug Gorman

So much for a long-term slump.

Apparently, the word isn't in professional golfer Annika Sorenstam's golf dictionary.

After struggling last week at the Michelob Ultra Open in Virginia, and finishing 12th, Sorenstam is again back on top of the golfing world.

Sunday afternoon the top-ranked player on the LPGA tour waltzed past the rest of the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship field at Eagle's Landing Country Club to record her fourth victory of the season.

Sorenstam played bogey-free golf in three of the tournament's four rounds, including Sunday, and finished the contest 23-under par.

She also became the tournament's first two-time winner.

More impressively, the victory was the 60th of her career.

"Here I am with 60," Sorenstam said.

"I have to pinch myself to believe it's real."

In the end, it wasn't even close as Sorenstam cruised to the double-digit victory.

Sorenstam started Sunday's fourth round at 18-under par,10 strokes ahead of the nearest golfer.

Steady play on Sunday kept her commanding lead in tact as she finished the tournament by shooting a 5-under par 67 in the final round.

"It's been a great week in so many ways," Sorenstam said. "I'm very happy with the way I played."

With the victory, Sorenstam collected the $240,000 first prize.

Sorenstam started the Sunday's round with a birdie on No.1 to move to 19-under par. Seven pars and a birdie on hole No.-7 pushed her to 20-under as she moved to the back 9.

She put the exclamation point on her victory by draining a 6-foot putt for a birdie on No.-18. She also birdied 13 and 14 to stay 10 strokes in the lead.

The 34-year-old golfer has won eight of the last 11 events she has entered, making sure she will keep ownership of her No.1-world ranking for a long-time.

Her steady play this year has her thinking about winning all four majors, also known as the Grand Slam.

She already has one of those victories out the way, after winning at the Kraft Nabisco earlier this year.

"I have already taken the first step by winning the first major of the year, now I have to keep it going," she said. "I am always setting goals for myself, and that's one of them."

About the only thing left to decided on Sunday was who was going to finish second?

Candie Kung won that battle, holding off third-place finisher and last week's LPGA winner Cristie Kerr.

Kung shot a 7-under 65 on Sunday and finished 13-under par.

Kerr also shot a 65, and after starting the day at 5-under par, she made up seven strokes and finished 12-under par.

A week ago when Kerr was on the winning end, she beat Sorenstam by 10 strokes. Sunday, it was almost as if Kerr knew she was fighting for second.

"I think I made her mad last week when I beat her by 10 shots," Kerr told the Associated Press.

"She wanted to blow the field away, and she did."

Kung and Kerr played some of the most competitive golf over the back nine. Kung birdied 13, 15 and 18. Kerr turned in birdies on 10, 17 and 18 to complete her round.

Silvia Cavalleri, Wendy Ward, and Emilee Klein finished tied for fourth at 10-under par.

At start the fourth round, there was very little chance anybody was going to catch the No.1-ranked player in the world. Sunday's victory marked the 40th time Sorenstam has won when leading heading into the final round.

Last year's winner Jennifer Rosales finished tied for 31 after shooting 3-under par.

A year ago, Rosales captured her first ever LPGA win in the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship. She has already won once this year.