2004: LPGA - Familiar roles for Sorenstam, Park
Palm Desert, Calif.
Grace Park seems stuck at No. 2. The main reason for that, of course, is who’s entrenched at No. 1.
Three shots down with five holes to go Oct. 17 at the Samsung World Championship, Annika Sorenstam chipped in from 40 feet for an eagle on No. 15, then made a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to rally for a three-shot victory over Park. Sorenstam shot 5-under-par 67 for an 18-under 273 total. Park (73), who bogeyed the last two holes, finished at 15 under, with Lorena Ochoa (70) third at 13 under.
The $206,250 top prize put Sorenstam over the $2 million mark for the fourth consecutive year ($2,070,858). No other LPGA player has reached that figure. Her 54 titles place her only one behind Betsy Rawls for No. 5 on the LPGA’s all-time list. And Sorenstam’s six victories in 15 events this year all but wrapped up her fourth consecutive Rolex Player of the Year Award – and her seventh overall.
“This is special, to come from behind,” said Sorenstam, who had a 4-under 32 on the back nine. “You’ve got the 20 best players in the world and you’ve got to really play some good golf.”
Park, No. 2 for much of the year in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, finished second for the sixth time this season. Her lone 2004 victory came in March at the Kraft Nabisco.
Park seemed in control after opening with a 10-under 62. She led after the first three rounds and began Sunday with a three-shot lead over Sorenstam and Cristie Kerr. After letting another victory slip away, she clearly was disgusted with her play down the stretch.
“I fell apart and didn’t get the job done, and that’s it,” said Park.
“I haven’t felt this badly in a long time. I’m playing good golf but just not getting it done.”
Amateur Michelle Wie, who turned 15 Oct. 11, tied for 13th in the 20-player field at 5-under 283. She played in her final LPGA event of the season, and will now return to her 10th-grade classes in Honolulu.
“It could have been a lot better,” said Wie, who posted the lowest score of the third round with a 67. “I had a lot of fun, and now it’s back to the books.”