Sorenstam ends Webb's victory streak

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The Independent Online

Forget what you hear about those emotionless Swedes. There were plenty of tears when Charlotta Sorenstam won her first LPGA tournament at the Standard Register Ping in Phoenix, Arizona.

And she did it on Sunday by beating arguably the two best golfers in the world - her sister Annika and Karrie Webb.

"She was solid as a rock," Webb said. "I just hope she takes it easy on herself now. She knows she can do it."

Webb's bid to become the first in 22 years to win four consecutive LPGA tournaments died in a sand trap on the 16th hole. Before her loss, she had won all four tournaments she entered this year - three LPGA events and the non-tour Ladies Australian Open.

Charlotta Sorenstam, at 26 three years younger than her more famous sister, pulled away from a tie after 15 holes to defeat Webb by two strokes. Charlotta wrapped it up with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th.

"I wanted to do it in style," she said with a smile.

Then Charlotta burst into tears, first hugging her father Tom, then Annika, who also brushed away a tear as she walked off the green. There were hugs from Charlotta's husband and from her in-laws.

The hug from mother will have to wait. She is to arrive from Sweden later this week.

"She played awesome," Annika said, still crying. "I'm so proud of her. She's always been in my shadow, and now she broke through."

Charlotta, who lives in nearby Scottsdale, shot a 4-under-par 68 in the final round for a 72-hole total of 12-under 276 on the sun-baked course at The Legacy Golf Resort.

Webb was 2-under 70 on Sunday to finish at 10-under-par 278. Annika Sorenstam, who started the day tied for the lead with her sister and Webb, was a distant third at 7-under 281 after a final-round 73.

Webb needed to win two more in a row to tie the record of five straight set by Nancy Lopez in 1978.

"I'm disappointed a little bit about that, especially for the LPGA," Webb said, "but I'm not going to have near as much attention next week, so I might be able to concentrate a little more."

Charlotta, known by her family as "Lotta," said that while the victory is wonderful, she knows her sister will always be the more famous of the two.

"I've never felt I've been in her shadow, but I guess I've been and I'm always going to be," she said. "No matter how many tournaments I win, I'm always going to be her sister. There's no way around that. I don't mind."

In a way, Charlotta was sorry to see Webb's streak end, because if it kept going, it would bring Tiger Woods-like attention to the women's tour.

"I thought it would be nice for Karrie to win because she would match Tiger," Charlotta said, "but I wanted to stop her, though. That's what I thought, and I did."

Webb, the defending Standard Register champion, hit her tee shot within 2 feet of the pin on the par-3, 165-yard 15th for a birdie to pull even with Charlotta at 11-under with three holes to play. It could have been worse. Charlotta was in the bunker on the 15th, but hit a great shot out of the sand to save par.

On the par-4, 389-yard 16th, Webb hit her second shot into the bunker behind the green. On her shot out of the sand, she shanked it badly, leaving it on the fringe some 40 feet from the hole. She got down in two for a bogey, while Charlotta sank a tricky 8-foot putt for par to take a one-stroke lead.

On the 18th, Webb hit her second shot into the sand, but recovered nicely to leave herself just 16 feet for a birdie. She missed the putt, and Charlotta made hers to cinch the victory.

Leading final-round scores from the Standard Register Ping tournament in Phoenix, Arizona (US unless stated):

276 C Sorenstam (Swe) 72 64 72 68 278 K Webb (Aus) 67 69 72 70 281 A Sorenstam (Swe) 67 68 73 73 282 L Lindley 72 70 70 70, C Koch (Swe) 69 73 68 72 283 J Pitcock 70 70 74 69, B King 74 68 71 70, H Kobayashi (Jpn) 71 71 70 71, J Geddes 72 69 71 71, M H Kim (Kor) 68 73 69 73 284 K Kuehne 72 69 75 68, C Matthew (GB) 72 71 71 70, S Turner 72 71 70 71, M Hjorth (Swe) 69 72 71 72, R Jones 73 67 71 73, N Scranton 71 71 69 73, S Redman 71 71 69 73 285 J Moodie (GB) 74 71 71 69, C Johnston-Forbes 70 68 75 72, S Waugh (Aus) 73 69 71 72, M Mallon 70 71 74 70, S Steinhauer 72 69 74 70, J Morley (GB) 70 70 71 74, R Hetherington (Aus) 71 69 71 74 286 K Marshall (GB) 75 70 70 71, W Doolan (Aus) 71 69 76 69, K Robbins 72 73 72 68, L Davies (GB) 69 71 72 74, J Rosales (Phi) 72 68 71 75, T Barrett 73 68 70 75


288 L Neumann (Swe) 73 72 70 73, H Dobson (GB) 72 74 68 74 292 H Alfredsson (Swe) 74 68 76 74 294 A Nicholas (GB) 74 72 73 75 295 K Stupples (GB) 70 73 76 76