Sorenstam wins 70th LPGA Tour title, ends long winless streak

Annika Sorenstam, SBS Open
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Annika Sorenstam won her second straight event in Hawaii.

KAHUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Annika Sorenstam waited 17 months to collect a T-shirt from her sister and a bottle of wine from a friend with No. 70 proudly displayed on them.

"It's probably dusty," she said. "I'm ready to collect it now."

Sorenstam won the season-opening SBS Open for her 70th LPGA Tour title and first since September 2006, birdieing two of the last three holes Saturday for a 3-under 69 and two-stroke victory.

"It's great to win tournaments and there's some tournaments that mean a little bit more and they come in a special time, and I would say this is one of them," she said.

The 37-year-old Swedish star, coming off an injury-shortened season where she failed to win last year for the first time since her rookie season in 1994, finished with a 10-under 206 total. It also was her second straight win in Hawaii.

"We've talked so much about '07, it's time to talk about '08," she said. "My clubs did the talking this particular week."

Rookie Russy Gulyanamitta (68), Laura Diaz (70) and Jane Park (70) tied for second. Angela Park (69), the 2007 rookie of the year who was assessed a two-stroke penalty, and Japanese rookie Momoko Ueda (71) tied for fifth, three strokes back.

Sorenstam dropped to a knee and shook her fist as she calmly sank a 24-foot downhill putt on the par-4 17th that ended any suspense.

"That was huge," said Sorenstam, who has won 47 times when holding the lead going into the final round. "That's one of those putts I'm going to remember for a long time."

She then waved both arms in the air and hugged her caddie after putting for par on the 18th hole.

"It's been a while," caddie Terry McNamara said as they hugged.

Sorenstam was limited to 13 events last year because of neck and back injuries and had six top-10s finishes, but couldn't add to her trophy collection.

In the first event of 2008, the world's former No. 1 looked like her old self — relaxed, focused and dominant.

"This means so much to me," she said. "Last year was not a year I wanted to remember inside the ropes. I was determined to come back."

Sorenstam smiled as she walked the fairway on the par-4 16th after hitting a wedge to 4 feet, which she dropped for the outright lead that she wouldn't lose.

Sorenstam said she was a little hesitant and trying to protect her lead until she reached the turn when she told McNamara, "Let's play some golf."

She first went up by two strokes on the par-4 10th by sinking a 14-foot birdie putt, but quickly lost a stroke when her long birdie putt whizzed 8 feet passed the cup on the next hole. She three-putted for her only bogey of the day.

Ueda and Jane Park each birdied to tie Sorenstam for the lead at 8 under. Jane Park made a long putt on No. 15. Seconds later, Ueda rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 14, drawing a roar from the sizable Japanese gallery.

However, no one could keep pace with Sorenstam.

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