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Sorenstam cruising to second leg



Published: Sat, June 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



She's already won a major tournament win this year; she'll likely win her second.

HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. (AP) -- The second leg of the Grand Slam might be easier than the first one for Annika Sorenstam, who blew away the field Saturday in the LPGA Championship with her 14th consecutive round in the 60s to take a five-shot lead into the final round.

Despite a bogey on the final hole and again failing to make birdie on any of the par 5s at Bulle Rock, Sorenstam walked away with a 3-under 69 and hardly any worries.

Asked what kind of message her big lead sent to the rest of the field, Sorenstam paused before stating what she has made obvious over the last five years.

"That I'm here to play," she said. "My goal is to come to play, to win and to leave."

If anything, she might feel like this is a recurring dream.

Sorenstam built a five-shot lead at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in late March, then cruised to an eight-shot victory in the first major championship of the year.

This time, she got plenty of help.

Self-destruction

Laura Davies self-destructed on two short putts, squandered her hopes with one tee shot and ended with a sloppy double bogey for a 2-over 74 that left her seven shots behind, and likely ending her shot at the Hall of Fame.

"It's a race for second place," Davies said. "It's almost like she's toying with us."

Sorenstam, who was at 12-under 204, will be paired in the final round with Young Kim, who had a 68 and was one of the few players who put up a steady fight on a scorching afternoon at Bulle Rock.

Michelle Wie held her own, too.

The 15-year-old from Hawaii punched a wedge into 3 feet for birdie on the 18th hole and a 1-under 71, leaving her in a five-way tie for third at 211.

But just like everyone else, the prospects of winning are bleak as ever -- in part because of the margin, primarily because of the player they are chasing.

"Anything is possible," Wie said. "I'll just put the ball so close to the hole I won't have to putt."

Wie will play in the second-to-last group with Jeong Jang, who shot a 69. Also at 5-under 211 were Natalie Gulbis, who bogeyed three of her first four holes but recovered for a 73, and Moira Dunn (72).

One shot hurt

Davies was the only who threatened Sorenstam until one bad shot wrecked a tremendous comeback.

After four birdies on the back nine to get within three shots, Davies again took a crack with her driver on the 330-yard 16th hole. This one strayed far to the right, in weeds that brushed up against her waist. The grass was so thick that even with her strength, Davies whacked a wedge with all her might to move it some 30 feet.

She hit a wedge to 6 feet and missed the putt for bogey, while Sorenstam hit a sand wedge out of the rough to 10 feet for a birdie, a two-shot swing that was devastating to Davies' chances.

Sorenstam poured it on with another birdie from 6 feet on the 17th, and Davies finished by hitting an iron off the tee and into the rough, then three-putting for double bogey.

"I know what Laura is all about," Sorenstam said. "As a spectator, it's fun to watch. I try not to watch too much. She plays with her heart. I like to say I play with my brain."

It doesn't take a genius to figure out this conclusion.

Sorenstam has only blown a five-shot lead once in her career, at the 2001 State Farm Classic, at a time when she was not nearly this dominant.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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