Sorenstam in line for 60th LPGA win

Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2005

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. — Annika Sorenstam finally had a few slip-ups, but they were hardly enough to stop the inevitable.

Sorenstam stretched her lead to 10 strokes Saturday, virtually assuring her 60th LPGA Tour victory with another round to go in the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship.

Only two players in LPGA Tour history have rallied from such a daunting deficit on the final day, and they just happen to be two of the greatest in women's golf history — Sorenstam in 2001 and Mickey Wright in 1964.

Despite Sorenstam's first bogeys of the week — gasp, she actually had three — she managed a 5-under 67 that extended her six-stroke lead at the halfway point. A three-round total of 198 left her at 18 under.

A week after failing to break Nancy Lopez's record of five wins in a row, Sorenstam is about to pull even with another LPGA Tour great. The 60th victory would tie Patty Berg for third place, behind only Kathy Whitworth (88) and Wright (82).

Emilee Klein was second after a 68. Silvia Cavalleri had a 65, but that was only good enough to pull the Italian within 11 strokes of Sorenstam.

Byron Nelson Championship

IRVING, Texas — Sean O'Hair is not interested in rehashing his long, troubled road to becoming a 22-year-old rookie on the PGA Tour. All that matters now is finishing it with a victory in the Byron Nelson Championship.

Prompted to turn pro at age 17 by a father who saw him merely as a commodity, O'Hair showed poise beyond his years with a 3-under 67 to take a one-shot lead over British Open champion Todd Hamilton at 12-under 198.

A weekend without Tiger Woods, who missed the cut for the first time in 142 events, suddenly is not lacking for a compelling story.

O'Hair was one of the best juniors in the country, driven by a father who made him run a mile for every bogey, told him to turn pro a year before he finished high school and had him sign a contract giving the father 10 percent of all future earnings. After failing against competition over his head, O'Hair left his father and hasn't spoken to him in almost two years.

Hamilton shot a 65. Scott Verplank nearly holed out from the fairway on the 18th hole and finished with three straight birdies for a 65, putting him at 10-under 200 with Doug Barron (65) and Ted Purdy (68).

The Big Five was down to three after Woods and U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen missed the cut. Vijay Singh, who likely will return to No. 1 in the world, shot a 69 that left him at 6-under 204. Ernie Els also wound up with a 69 and was 5 under along with Phil Mickelson (70).

Blue Angels Classic

MILTON, Fla. — Craig Stadler shot a 10-under 60 to match the Champions Tour and Blue Angels Classic records, leaving him two strokes behind leader Jim Thorpe.

Stadler had a 27 1/2-foot putt on No. 18 for a 59, but the birdie try missed by 6 inches. He had 11 birdies and one bogey — on the par-4 ninth — in perfect scoring conditions on the 6,832-yard Moors Golf Club course.

Stadler became the sixth Champions Tour player to shoot a 60. Isao Aoki also had a 60 in his 1997 victory in the event, then the Emerald Coast Classic. Walter Morgan, Tom Purtzer, Bruce Fleisher and Thorpe also have shot 60s on the 50-and-over tour.

Stadler, a five-time winner last year, birdied five of the first seven holes and made the turn in 4 under after the bogey on No. 9. He then birdied Nos. 10-12, 14 and 16 and 17 before closing with the par on No. 18.

Thorpe, coming off a victory May 1 in the FedEx Kinko's Classic in Lakeway, Texas, shot a 64 for a 13-under 127 total. Morris Hatalsky (65) was a stroke back.

British Masters

MERIDEN, England — New Zealand's Michael Campbell birdied the last four holes for a 5-under 67 and a three-stroke lead in the windy British Masters.

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