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30th win caps Annika's year

By BOB HARIG

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2001


Somewhat lost in another Annika Sorenstam victory on Sunday over Se Ri Pak at the World Ladies Match Play Championship was that it was her 30th career LPGA Tour title.

Somewhat lost in another Annika Sorenstam victory on Sunday over Se Ri Pak at the World Ladies Match Play Championship was that it was her 30th career LPGA Tour title.

That was once considered a milestone accomplishment, the minimum requirement necessary for entrance into the stringent LPGA Hall of Fame.

Sorenstam, who won for the seventh time this season and wrapped up player of the year honors with her 1-up victory over Pak, had long-ago qualified for the Hall under its new points criteria. But winning 30 was something Sorenstam, 31, always wanted to do, new regulations or not.

"This was one of my goals to start the year," Sorenstam said. "This year has been incredible for me with the records that I have set, and I have won more tournaments than I ever have done before. It really is a dream come true."

Sorenstam was player of the year for the fourth time and has more than a $200,000 lead over Pak for the money title, with two events to go.

But the 30 victories is special. Players such as Judy Rankin, Donna Caponi and Amy Alcott -- Hall of Famers under the new criteria or through the veterans committee -- never made it to 30. It's been some year for Sorenstam. She became the first woman to shoot 59, had a stretch of four straight victories and has finished in the top 10 in 18 of 24 tournaments.

AUGUSTA VISIT: Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara played the newly renovated Augusta National Golf Club last week and the Masters champions were taken by the changes.

"I think there could be a two- to three-shot difference in the course," O'Meara said. "If the wind blows and it gets hard and fast, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see just a few guys breaking par. It could go back to where 2 or 3 under might win in tough conditions, not 15 or 16 under."

Extensive renovations after the club closed this spring added more than 285 yards to the layout, with some 60 at the 18th hole. Instead of a driver- wedge approach, as Woods had in winning the tournament this year, he hit a 6-iron to the green last week in wet conditions.

Woods was especially taken by the changes at the par-5, dogleg 13th.

"Making 3 is a less viable chance," Woods said. "You used to be thinking 3, or get it on the green and two-putt for 4. But they have brought a 7 into the picture and taken the 3 out."

GENEROSITY: The Senior PGA Tour announced at the start of the season that it would have a season-long bonus pool called the Schwab Cup. The winner of the money title earns a $1-million annuity, and lesser payouts based on money-list finish. But Allen Doyle, who won the money title with just more than $2.5-million and has won more than $6.5-million in his senior career, has donated the $1-million tax-deferred annuity to charity.

"As soon as I convinced my wife that we were set financially, she was 100 percent behind it," Doyle said. "It just felt like the fair thing to do. We've been fortunate."

The money will be paid to Doyle's alma maters, Norwich University in Vermont and Catholic Memorial High in West Roxbury, Mass.; Habitat For Humanity, St. Peters Cathloic Church and Literacy Volunteers of America, all in his hometown of LaGrange, Ga.; there will also be 10-year scholarships for children of a police officer or firefighter who died in the World Trade Center attack.

NO DEFENSE: Phil Mickelson is not the first player who won't defend his Tour Championship title, but he is the first to miss despite being eligible. Mickelson's wife, Amy, had their second child recently, so he's staying home.

AROUND GOLF: The TPC of Tampa Bay is a first stage qualifying site this week for the Senior PGA Tour, where Tampa's Doug Lacrosse is in the field, hoping to advance to the Q-School finals Nov. 13-16 in Calimesa, Calif. There, only the top eight players earn fully exempt status, with the next eight getting partial status next year. ... Ben Crenshaw, who will join the senior tour next year, was given the Payne Stewart Award, for the player who shows respect for the sport's tradition.

- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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