2002: LPGA - Sorenstam prevails as final hole again hurts Hurst
It wasn’t quite 10 strokes. But it was another comeback victory for Annika Sorenstam over Pat Hurst.
Sorenstam, who overcame a 10-stroke deficit to Hurst in the final round of The Office Depot in 2001, rallied to beat Hurst again May 12 at the Aerus Electrolux USA Championship.
Although she only had to make up one shot in the final round, Sorenstam’s triumph again came down to a Hurst mistake on the final hole. At last year’s Office Depot, it was Hurst hitting into a bunker for a final-round 77 that left her one shot out of a playoff with Sorenstam and Mi Hyun Kim. This time, it was Hurst hitting into the water as she went for the victory instead of the tie.
Sorenstam, playing two groups ahead of Hurst, finished at 8-under-par 64 that left her tied for the lead at 17 under after Hurst birdied No. 17. Sorenstam then watched from the scorer’s tent as Hurst came up the par-5 final hole. To Hurst’s credit, she didn’t play tentatively, going for the green in two instead of laying up.
A strong drive left her only 199 yards to the green, but her 3-wood drifted right, hit the bank and splashed into the water. After taking a penalty stroke, she then skipped a sand wedge shot 25 feet past the pin and missed the par putt, handing Sorenstam the $120,000 top prize and her third LPGA title in seven starts this season.
Hurst, seeking her second Mother’s Day victory in this event in three years, had no regrets with her final-hole decision. She played well all day, making three consecutive birdies on Nos. 12-14, and even with the late bogey, she still finished with a 6-under 66 for a 16-under 272 total.
“I was in complete control all day and just felt like I could do it,” Hurst said. “That’s why I did.”
Sorenstam said she didn’t expect Hurst to make a mistake on No. 18 but said she would have been satisfied either way.
“I did everything I could,” Sorenstam said. “Sometimes that means a lot to me. Winning is great and everything, but I did everything I could today. If Pat would’ve birdied 18, I still would’ve been happy. Sometimes you can only do so much.”
For Sorenstam, it was her 34th LPGA title, and her 12th when trailing on the final day.
“The more you win, you realize how much fun it is, and how much it means to you. To me, anyway,” Sorenstam said. “They mean more in a way. You know how tough it is to win, and you don’t know how many more you’re going to win. You have to be thankful.”
“She played great,” Hurst said of Sorenstam, who birdied four of her last five holes. “She shot a 64. What can you do? Hats off to her. She played great.”
Grace Park finished third at 14-under 274 after a final-round 67. Park has three consecutive top-five finishes (tied for fifth, Longs Drug Challenge; tied for fourth, Chick-fil-A Charity Classic) and is tied with Sorenstam for the most top-10 finishes with five.
Rookie Natalie Gulbis, 19, started the final round with a one-shot lead, but finished eighth after an up-and-down 74 that included two double bogeys, four bogeys and six birdies.
Hurst won here in 2000 on her first Mother’s Day after giving birth to her son Jackson.
She gave birth to another child, Reilly Ann, in January, but couldn’t quite pull off the victory this time.
Her 4-month-old daughter was a little fussy and crying as Hurst talked with reporters after the round.
“She’s feeling my pain,” said Hurst.