Sorenstam splashes to record

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reports from Zell-am-See

Patience finally paid off for Annika Sorenstam, of Sweden, when she won a long-awaited first European title in the OVB Austrian women's Open here yesterday.

In heavy rain, Sorenstam fashioned a closing round of 68 for a 22-under- par total of 270, two strokes better than the previous world record. She finished three strokes ahead of Laura Davies, with Corinne Dibnah a further stroke behind.

Over the past two years, she has finished second six times in Europe, and has been the runner-up twice in the United States this season. She did win the Australian Open last winter, but said: "I am very relieved to win after waiting a while."

Sorenstam had started her final round two strokes clear of the field, with Davies five behind. The expected charge from Davies materialised with a run of seven birdies in nine holes from the fourth, but even then the World No 1 was still four strokes adrift.

At the sixth, Sorenstam dropped only her second shot of the tournament, before a sand wedge to 15ft at the eighth gave her the first of three birdies in four holes. "It looked pretty good then, but I still had to finish the job off," Sorenstam said.

Second place assured Davies of becoming the first player to take her career winnings in Europe through the pounds 500,000 barrier.