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Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 23, 2001


Pak ends streak of Sorenstam

LINCOLN, Calif. -- Se Ri Pak never needed to worry about Annika Sorenstam on Sunday in the Longs Drugs Challenge.

Sorenstam faded early, and Pak used two late birdies to shoot 1-under 71 and hold off non-winner Laura Diaz by two shots to win her second tournament of the year. Michele Redman finished another shot back.

It was the first time in five tournaments that Sorenstam was not holding the winner's check. A second streak continued, though. Pak's win left Americans 0-10 this year on the LPGA Tour.

Sorenstam, trying to win for the fifth straight time to tie a record set 23 years ago by Nancy Lopez, began the day eight shots back and shot 75 to finish 12 shots behind, in 43rd place.

"It didn't happen at all today," she said. "I was never close all week, and it wasn't meant to be. So I'm just going to deal with that and come out fresh next time and get another chance."

Pak, who birdied two of the final three holes, finished at 8-under 208. She left several birdie putts short on the front nine and three-putted 13 to fall out of the lead. But she made an 8-footer on 16 and followed it with a 12-footer on the next hole to regain it.

"I had confidence I would have a great day, but I couldn't make a putt all day," said Pak, who took command of the tournament with an opening 66. "Mentally I got pretty tired and kind of mad at myself. But then I made a few."

Diaz, who shot 68, held the lead by herself while playing the 15th hole after bogeys by Pak and Redman. She was tied for the lead as she teed off ahead of Pak on 18, but she bogeyed the hole despite a remarkable break. Her errant tee shot rolled over a small bridge instead of plunging into the creek that runs across the fairway.

Sorenstam had hoped the tournament would go the full 72 holes after opening with 73 that left her seven behind Pak. But after the second round was rained out Friday, tournament officials said they were left with no alternative other than to shorten it to 54 holes.

Sorenstam, who won after trailing by 10 shots going into the final round last week, couldn't find any of the same magic. She missed a short birdie putt on the second hole, then three-putted the third.

"That's when it hit me that it wasn't going my way," she said.

Also ended was Sorenstam's streak of six consecutive tournaments with top-two finishes. Her round Sunday was the worst she has shot this season, and her 73-72-75-220 total was her first this year that did not include a round in the 60s.

HOUSTON OPEN: Hal Sutton shot 3-under 69 in windy conditions for a three-stroke victory over Joe Durant and Lee Janzen in the PGA Tour event at the Woodlands, Texas.

Sutton started the round two strokes behind Durant, who was trying to join Tiger Woods as the only three-time winners on the tour this year.

Sutton finished at 10-under 278.

Janzen shot 73, and Durant had 74.

Sutton avoided big trouble when he hit his second shot in the water on No. 7, but he had a long-range putt to get a bogey.

"That (bogey) was the turning point for me," he said. "I could have come away with my confidence damaged, but I felt great."

LAS VEGAS SENIOR CLASSIC: Bruce Fleisher ended a nearly nine-month winless streak, shooting 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory in the Senior PGA Tour event.

Fleisher totaled 8-under 208 for his first victory since the Lightpath Long Island Classic on July 30.

"I had no doubt I could win again, but there are times when you doubt yourself," Fleisher said. "Hopefully this will boost my confidence. I just need to make some putts."

Hale Irwin (70), Walter Hall (72), Jose Maria Canizares (70), Doug Tewell (71) and Vicente Fernandez (72) tied for second.

Jerry McGee, the third-round leader who is winless in 240 senior starts, shot 77 to tie for eighth at 213. He had a double bogey and three bogeys on the back nine.

SPANISH OPEN: Robert Karlsson shot a final-round 2-under 70 and won the European PGA Tour event by two strokes over Jeff Remesy at Valencia.

Karlsson finished at 11-under 277 and moved from 21st to eighth in the Ryder Cup qualifying table.

Remesy shot 66.

Darren Clarke, who started the day tied for the lead with Karlsson, ballooned to 79, including a quintuple-bogey 10 at the 15th hole.

FUTURES TOUR: Beth Bauer of Tampa shot par 72 to finish in a five-way tie for 11th at 4-over 220 at the Southwestern Bell Classic at Richardson, Texas. Ju Yun Kim shot 70 to win with a 4-under 212 total. Second-round leader Diane Irvin shot 77 and finished third at 216.

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