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Sorenstam breaks out of logjam

©Associated Press

March 23, 2003

PHOENIX -- Annika Sorenstam's search for challenges goes beyond playing on the PGA Tour. Her former coaches in Sweden call it Vision 54, the one perfect round in which she makes nothing but birdies.

During the first few holes Saturday, playing partner Karrie Webb wondered if this might be that day.

But instead of birdies on 18 holes, the top player on the LPGA Tour settled for half that many for 65 and a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Safeway Ping tournament.

In a four-way tie for the lead beginning the round, Sorenstam birdied the first two holes and had about a 10-footer for another on the third hole.

"I said to my caddie on the third hole that if she makes this, she can still shoot 54," Webb said.

Sorenstam missed, but Webb was only half-kidding. Sorenstam shot 59 here two years ago.

"I have to shoot in the low 60s to have a chance tomorrow," Webb said. "She's not making too many mistakes."

Sorenstam, who will play in the PGA Tour's Colonial in May, made nine birdies at the Moon Valley Country Club, which is playing short and easy. She was 18 under through three rounds, and she has improved each day in her first tournament of the year.

"All the pieces are really falling together," Sorenstam said. "I'm where I want to be, and my game's where I want it to be."

Sorenstam was two strokes ahead of Patricia Meunier-Lebouc (67). Two more strokes back at 15 under were Webb (68), Se Ri Pak (68) and Grace Park (67). Sorenstam started the day in a four-way tie with Webb, Pak and Meunier-Lebouc.

MADEIRA ISLAND OPEN: Bradley Dredge missed birdie putts on the last two holes to miss his chance to shoot the first 59 on the European PGA Tour. Dredge had 10 birdies and an eagle in 16 holes but missed birdie putts of 11 and 30 feet at 17 and 18. He shot 12-under 60 to move to 15 under with an eight-stroke lead over Van Phillips (67) heading into today's final round at Santo da Serra. First-round co-leaders Andrew Sherborne (71) and Maria Arruti (74) fell off the pace.

SENIOR CLASSIC: Rodger Davis shot 7-under 64 for a two-stroke lead over first-round leader Jim Ahern after two rounds. Davis had a tournament-record 13-under 129 at the Newport Beach (Calif.) Country Club, breaking the mark of 130 set by Terry Mauney in 2001. Ahern, looking for his second career win on the Champions Tour, shot 67.

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