Sorenstam Takes Four-Stroke Lead in Japan

Saturday, November 6th 2004, 12:07 pm
By: News On 6

OTSU, Japan (AP) _ Annika Sorenstam moved into position for her record-tying fourth consecutive Mizuno Classic title, shooting a 6-under 66 on Saturday to take a four-stroke lead into the final round. The Swedish star is trying to match the LPGA Tour record of four straight victories in a tournament, set by Laura Davies in the 1994-97 Standard Register Ping.

Sorenstam birdied the two par-5 closing holes for the second straight day to finish at 15-under 129.

``I know I have an opportunity to make history, and obviously I look forward to that, but it is one thing at a time,'' Sorenstam said.

Japan's Chihiro Nakajima, tied for the first-round lead with Sorenstam after a 63, had a 70 to drop into second place on the Seta Golf Course.

Grace Park, coming off a five-stroke victory over Sorenstam and Carin Koch last week in the CJ Nine Bridges Classic in South Korea, shot a 69 to finish at 8 under along with Davies (69), Aree Song (70), Jamie Hullett (67), Candie Kung (67), Chieko Amanuma (67) and Junko Omote (67). Koch was 7 under after a 67.

Sorenstam, a six-time LPGA Tour winner this year with 54 career victories, had four birdies and a bogey on the front nine. She added a birdie on the par-4 14th to reach 13 under and pulled away with her birdies on the final two holes.

``I feel pretty good, not as good as yesterday score-wise and play-wise, but I am happy with the finish,'' Sorenstam said.

Last year, Sorenstam ran away with the tournament, setting a tour 54-hole scoring record of 24-under 192 in a nine-stroke victory. She also took the 2002 title on the Seta course after winning the 2001 event at Musashigaoka.