Sorenstam Wins at Electrolux

Saturday, May 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) _ Annika Sorenstam matched the course record with an 8-under 64 Sunday and won the Aerus Electrolux USA Championship when Pat Hurst hit into the water and bogeyed No. 18.

The finish was similar to The Office Depot a year ago, when Sorenstam overcame an LPGA-record 10-stroke deficit to beat Hurst. In that event, Hurst missed a playoff after hitting into a bunker on the final hole.

On Sunday, the women shared the lead for most of the round, matching birdies despite wind gusting up to 20 mph at the Legends Club of Tennessee. The turning point came at the par-5 18th.

Sorenstam, playing two groups ahead of Hurst, got to the front of the green in two, chipped to 4 feet and made the birdie putt to go to 17 under. Then she stood at the scorer's tent, waiting.

Hurst birdied No. 17 to go to 17 under and learned that she and Sorenstam shared the lead. A strong drive left her 199 yards to the pin, but her 3-wood shot drifted right, hit the bank and splashed into the water. She couldn't ground her sand wedge and chipped across the green, leaving herself a 25-footer for par.

She came up short, giving Sorenstam her fourth victory of the year and third in seven starts on the LPGA Tour.

For Sorenstam, the victory was the 34th of her LPGA career and the 12th when trailing on the final day. She finished with a tournament-record 17-under 271 total, and earned $120,000 to push her tour-leading total to $686,242.

Hurst had been trying to win on Mother's Day after giving birth for the second time in three years. She still managed to shoot a 66 for her best finish since her daughter Reilly Ann was born in January.

Grace Park (67) finished three strokes back, Donna Andrews (65) was four back at 13 under for her best finish this year, and Brandie Burton (70) was fifth at 12-under 276.

Nineteen-year-old rookie Natalie Gulbis, who started the round with her first lead in only her seventh LPGA event, finished eighth at 9 under after shooting a 74 in a round that featured two double bogeys, four bogeys and six birdies.

At one point, it became a three-way tie between Sorenstam, Burton and Hurst. But Burton bogeyed No. 9 and fell off the pace.

Sorenstam and Hurst didn't ease up. Sorenstam couldn't have putted much better, while Hurst hit her irons very well and left herself five birdie putts of 2-3 feet.

Hurst broke out of a tie with a birdie on No. 12, the first of three consecutive birdies. Sorenstam kept pace with three straight birdies of her own starting on No. 14.