2004: LPGA - Back to business for Sorenstam

Broken Arrow, Okla.

After a month off, a hurricane clean-up and some R&R at Lake Tahoe, things have returned to normal for Annika Sorenstam: She’s once again winning LPGA tournaments.

Following her four-week hiatus, Sorenstam wasted no time getting back to peak form, cruising to a four-shot victory Sept. 12 at the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic, her first tournament since winning the HP Open in Sweden on Aug. 8. It was her fifth LPGA victory in 13 tries this season and her seventh victory worldwide.

Sorenstam’s final-round 70 gave her a 9-under 204 total and a top prize of $150,000 for her 53rd career LPGA title. Shi Hyun Ahn (69) was second at 5-under 208, followed by Candie Kung (69) at 3 under.

“I normally don’t have four weeks off in the summer but it just turned out to be that this year,” Sorenstam said. “I played in Europe three weeks and needed a long break.

“I didn’t touch a golf club for three weeks. I’m surprised.”

She spent two of the weeks “chilling” on her boat in Lake Tahoe, Nev., and a week cleaning up her Orlando, Fla., home after Hurricane Charley.

“Time flies,” she said. “I don’t know where four weeks went. I had a good time, I’m rested.”

Apparently so. Although she admitted she felt a little rusty early in the opening round, she quickly found her groove, making birdies on five of her final seven holes in a first-round 66. She then took a three-stroke lead after 36 holes with a smooth second-round 68.

“I’m very happy,” said the Swede, who also won this event by four strokes in 2002. “Luckily, my game got better and better every day, and I really felt comfortable playing here.”

Joanne Morley, playing in the final group with Sorenstam, closed within a stroke of the lead after opening with two birdies. But Morley bogeyed five of the next six holes, missing a 3-foot par putt at the third and a 6-footer at the fifth, to fall out of contention.

Although Ahn never really made a real run at Sorenstam, the Korean, who turned 20 Sept. 15, is proving that her victory at the 2003 CJ Nine Bridges Classic was no fluke.

The leading candidate for LPGA Rookie of the Year honors had her sixth top-5 finish and 10th top 20 in 19 starts in 2004, and is now No. 12 on the money list with $517,565.

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