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Sorenstam wins after 21 holes



Published: Fri, July 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Her 30-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole beat Tina Barrett.

GLADSTONE, N.J. (AP) -- Annika Sorenstam made sure she hit her 30-foot birdie putt hard enough on the third extra hole with Tina Barrett.

"I said to myself, 'I better get it to the hole this time,' " Sorenstam said. "I'd been short all day, all week really."

Sorenstam judged the speed and break perfectly, holing the putt to beat Barrett in 21 holes Friday in the second round of the HSBC World Match Play Championship.

"I had a lot of putts on the edges again," said Sorenstam, who also struggled with Hamilton Farm's rain-softened greens in her opening victory over Joanne Morley. "It wasn't until that last putt that I really had one go in."

Coming off a 23rd-place tie in the U.S. Women's Open, Sorenstam overcame three two-hole deficits before taking her first lead with a conceded par on the par-3 17th.

Missed opportunity

The Swedish star needed only to halve the par-4 18th to win, but bogeyed the hole -- missing an 8-foot par try -- to send the match back to No. 1.

"It was a tough match. Tina got off to a great start. She played very, very steady," Sorenstam said.

"It's hard work. I'm 2-down, I'm 1-up, I'm in a playoff and all of a sudden I've won."

The 39-year-old Barrett, winless since the 1989 Ocean State Open in her first season on the LPGA Tour, made pressure putts to extend the match on the first two extra holes -- an 8-footer for par on the par-4 first and an 18-footer for birdie with Sorenstam only inches from the cup in three on the par-5 second.

On the par-3 third, Barrett missed a 12-foot birdie try after Sorenstam holed her 30-footer.

"I was proud of the way I hung in there," said Barrett, seeded 32nd in the 64-player field.

"I don't get myself into contention as much as she does, but I'm hoping this can help me when I do get into contention to maybe be able to finish things off a little bit and handle the pressure and everything well."

While Sorenstam avoided an upset in her bid for her seventh victory in 10 events this year, second-seeded Cristie Kerr and No. 4 Paula Creamer were eliminated.

The top-seeded Sorenstam and No. 8 Candie Kung -- both in the upper bracket -- are the only players seeded 12 or higher to survive the first two rounds. In the lower bracket, No. 14 Wendy Ward is the only player in the top 29 left.

Barrett opened the match with two birdies to take her first two-hole lead.

Sorenstam rallied to win the par-3 third after nearly holing her tee shot, but Barrett pushed her advantage to two again with a birdie on No. 6.

Sorenstam squared it at the turn, winning the eighth with a birdie and the par-5 ninth with a par.

However, Barrett pulled ahead again, taking the 10th with a par and the 11th with a birdie.

Sorenstam won the par-3 12th with a birdie, tied it with a par on No. 16 and grabbed the lead with her conceded par on the 17th.

Hetherington next

Sorenstam advanced to face No. 48 Rachel Hetherington, a 5-and-4 winner over Mi Hyun Kim, in the third round this morning.

The quarterfinals will follow this afternoon and the semifinals and final are Sunday on the hilly course.

"Tomorrow's another day and another match," Sorenstam said.

"I'm in good shape. I have the will and I have the endurance. I just have to play some good golf."

Liselotte Neumann beat Kerr 4 and 3, birdieing seven of 15 holes.

"She played as good as she's capable of and she beat me," Kerr said.




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