2002: Swede ends super season in style
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Annika Sorenstam was as good at the finish as she was at the start.
Sorenstam won the season-opening Takefuji Classic in Hawaii, closed the year with a victory at the ADT Championship Nov. 24, and won nine LPGA tournaments in between, including the Mizuno Classic Nov. 10 in Japan.
Eleven victories in 23 events. Add two international victories – the Australian Ladies Masters and the Compaq Swedish Open – and Sorenstam was 13-of-25 for a .520 winning percentage.
“It won’t say in the LPGA history books that I won 13, it will say 11,” said Sorenstam, in reference to Mickey Wright’s 13 tournament victories in 1963. “But I don’t know if they had an international tour when Mickey played. So there’s some things I don’t think you can compare.”
At the ADT, Sorenstam closed with a 4-under 68 to shoot 13-under 275 and defeat Rachel Teske by three strokes at Trump International Golf Club. Sorenstam had a three-shot lead heading into the back nine, but Teske, playing in the final twosome with Karrie Webb, made birdie on No. 9, then an eagle No. 10, where she holed an 8-iron from 120 yards to pull even with Sorenstam.
Teske held the lead for a moment on the back but faltered down the stretch. She entered the par-3 17th hole a shot behind Sorenstam and hit her 5-iron into a right hazard. Teske was able to play the ball out of thick grass but chipped 40 feet short and three-putted for double bogey. Game over.
“I’m disappointed really,” said Teske, who won two LPGA titles this year and finished No. 9 on the money list. “I was just up-and-down and couldn’t get a rhythm at all.”
Webb was tied with Sorenstam following the third round, a shot behind Teske, but struggled early and was inconsistent throughout the day, recording four birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey for a 74. Webb made a 5-foot par putt on the final hole to give her sole possession of third place, which guaranteed her another $1 million-plus season.
Sorenstam’s victories at the ADT and the Mizuno, where she defeated Grace Park by two strokes to win $169,500, contributed to some of the 20 LPGA records she set this year.
Her scoring average of 68.70 shattered the 69.42 mark she set last year and was more than a full stroke ahead of runner-up Se Ri Pak (69.85). The Swede earned $215,000 at Trump International, which gave her more than $2.8 million for the year.
In 2001, Sorenstam had eight victories, became the first woman to shoot 59 and was the first player in LPGA history to earn more than $2 million in a season.
“I was determined to prove I could do it again,” she said. “Or even better.”