Annika Sorenstam fired a 4-under-par 68 Sunday to win the Nichirei Cup, her last tournament before taking on the men in the PGA Tour’s Colonial.
Sorenstam carded six birdies against a pair of bogeys at the Tokyo Yomiuri Country Club to finish with a four-day total of 13-under 275 and a nine-stroke victory over a group of six Japanese golfers, including Kaori Suzuki, who started the final round in second place.
“I feel great, it’s been a great week in so many ways,” said Sorenstam. “It was nice to finish with a low score. I just tried to stay focused all day and I was aiming for 15-under.”
The world’s top female player said Sunday’s win will give her confidence heading into the May 22-25 Colonial, where she will become the first woman to compete on the PGA Tour since Babe Zaharias contested the 1945 Los Angeles Open.
“Winning here gives me confidence for the Colonial,” said Sorenstam. “It’s a big challenge and it’s going to be a learning experience for me but I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Heading into the final round with a comfortable five-stroke lead over Suzuki, Sorenstam had back-to-back birdies on the third and fourth holes to go to 11-under.
It was Sorenstam’s first win since the Office Depot Championship in April. She shared the opening-round lead on the first day before taking over the lead for good on Friday.
Sorenstam, who won 13 tournaments last year, finished sixth at last week’s Michelob Light Open.
ITO, Shizuoka Pref. (Kyodo) American Todd Hamilton carded four birdies Sunday and a bogey en route to a final-round score of 3-under-par 68, the worst of his four rounds, but still good enough to take home his first victory in five years at the Fujisankei Classic.
Hamilton maintained the lead he possessed from the second round and finished with a 17-under 267 total and a five-stroke edge over Tetsuji Hiratsuka and Shigeru Nonaka, who finished tied for second.
Toms widens edge
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) A chip-in for eagle and a brilliant fairway bunker shot enabled David Toms to pull away from the pack Saturday in the Wachovia Championship.
On a steamy, blustery afternoon at Quail Hollow Toms matched the best score of the tournament with a 6-under 66 to take a five-stroke lead into the final round.
Kirk Triplett (67), Robert Gamez (71) and J.P. Hayes (72) were second at 6-under.
Jones two shots up
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (AP) Rosie Jones birdied three of the last eight holes on Saturday to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Asahi Ryokuken International.
Jones was at 13-under 203, followed by Laura Diaz (69) at 11-under.
Scahill shares lead
SUTTON COLDFIELD, England (AP) New Zealand’s Stephen Scahill matched the course record with a 7-under 65 for a share of the third-round lead at the Benson and Hedges International on Saturday.
England’s Paul Casey shot a 66 and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington had a 71 to match Scahill at 10-under 206 on The Belfry’s Brabazon Course.
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