Annika Sorenstam tied a course record with her final round of 62 to overtake the field at the State Farm Classic. Her -19 score was two strokes better than Cristie Kerr and three ahead of Seon-Hwa Lee, Maria Hjorth and Il Mi Chung. It was Annika’s third victory of the season and the 69th of her career. It also gave her the State Farm Series winner’s check of $250,000. Total payday - $445,000.
Ten birdies – six on the back nine – was the ticket. Birdies on 14 and 15 moved Sorenstam into the lead at -17. Hjorth birdied 15 to tie Annika, but the tie didn’t last long. Hjorth put her tee shot on the par-3 16th into the water and made double-bogey. Cristie Kerr made a nice run – four birdies in five holes – to get to -17 with two to play. Unfortunately for her, Annika was slamming the door with birdies on both 17 and 18 to close out her incredible round. Needing to match that birdie-birdie finish to force a playoff, Kerr made a poor approach on 17 and was only able to make par. Both Kerr and Chung failed to hole-out on 18 and Sorenstam had the win.
This week’s Big Surprise Award goes to Nancy Scranton. Playing in front of the home folks, she finished tied for sixth at -15. Brittany Lang and Kyeong Bae also finished -15 while Brittany Lincicome and Nina Reis made Top 10 at -14. Lorena Ochoa went to 17 at -15 needing only to finish in the top four (or the top seven if Kerr didn’t win) to clinch the State Farm Series money, but nearly put her approach in the water and needed two chips and two putts to find the hole. Her -13 finish left her tied for 11th and allowed Sorenstam to overtake her for the big money. Ouch. Even worse, that left me with only one out of three picks finishing Top 10 this week. Maybe we’ll both do better in Tulsa starting Friday.