Sorenstam's winning streak ends as Kerr triumphs at Kingsmill

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The Independent Online

Annika Sorenstam's bid for a record sixth straight U.S. LPGA Tour victory ended with a double-bogey on the third hole of the final round on Sunday, enabling Crister Kerr to cruise to victory in the Michelob Ultra Open.

Annika Sorenstam's bid for a record sixth straight U.S. LPGA Tour victory ended with a double-bogey on the third hole of the final round on Sunday, enabling Crister Kerr to cruise to victory in the Michelob Ultra Open.

Sorenstam finished at 2-over 286, 10 strokes behind Kerr, who was five shots ahead of her closet pursuer.

"I wanted to do it. I had a great opportunity," said Sorenstam, who shot a 3-over 74 in the final round. "I was ready to play, it just didn't happen, unfortunately. So I'm a little sad about that."

Kerr was ecstatic with her victory, the fifth of her career but the first when Sorenstam was in the field. After putting out to finish at 8-under 276, she tossed her ball into the water beside the green. She shot 68-72 for her two rounds on Sunday.

"I need a beer," said Kerr, who earned $330,000 for the win. "We're going to drink out of the trophy." She didn't need to wait that long. Natalie Gulbis ran onto the green and showered her friend with beer, and Kerr took a swig of it before pouring some on her head.

Jill McGill finished five strokes back at 3-under 281. Gulbis, Catriona Matthew and Michele Redman tied for third at 2-under 282.

Sorenstam wound up tied for 12th. It was the first time she finished a tournament above par since the 2003 John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic. She was 1 over in the 54-hole event, tying for 10th.

"I am not going to look for excuses, other than myself," she said. "I had a great opportunity to do something, I just didn't do it." After Sorenstam finished up on 18, caddie Terry McNamara put his arm around her shoulder and gave her an encouraging hug. "I am disappointed, there is no doubt about that," she said. "I just have to start over and maybe I can do another streak."

Sorenstam won five straight tournaments to tie Nancy Lopez's long-standing record. She took five weeks off after the Kraft Nabisco Championship, and came to Kingsmill looking for No. 6.

She needed 121 putts for the tournament, including 32 in the first round, when she shot a 5-over 76 that jeopardized her chances of making the cut. She rallied in the second round with four birdies in a five-hole stretch, and got herself back into contention with a 2-under 69 in the third round Sunday morning. That put her at 1 under for the tournament, and vaulted her all the way to fifth place.

The break between rounds was only 15 minutes, but it was long enough to sap whatever momentum Sorenstam had. On the first hole, she yanked her drive and had to settle for a bogey.

But it was the par-5 No. 3 that really did her in. She pushed her tee shot right and into some trees, and had no choice but to punch out, landing in the rough. She then topped a 4-wood, hitting the face of a bunker and landing maybe 45 yards from where she'd started.

Her fourth shot sailed into a greenside bunker that's well below the elevated putting surface. It was a bad lie, too, forcing her to stand with one foot inside the bunker and one foot out, and she could only get the ball up to the middle of the hill in front of her.

She chipped within 2 feet and tapped in, but the double-bogey left her at 2 over for the tournament.

"Just a lot of bad shots," Sorenstam said when asked what happened on the hole. "There was a lot of bad shots."

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