Date: February 18, 2008

Sorenstam triumphant in Hawaii

Sweden&aposs Annika Sorenstam got the year off to a flying start, carding a three-under-par 69 to capture the season-opening SBS Open in Hawaii. It was the 70th LPGA Tour title for Sorenstam, who was winless in 2007 and was limited to 13 events due to back and neck injuries. It was the first year since 1994 Sorenstam failed to win a tournament. Sorenstam, who was making her first appearance in this $US1.1million event at Turtle Bay, finished at 10-under 206 and won by two strokes from Russy Gulyanamitta, Laura Diaz and Jane Park. Erica Blasberg, who was tied with Sorenstam for the lead entering the final round, stumbled to a two over 74 and finished five strokes off the lead. Defending champion Paula Creamer closed with a 69 and finished at four-under 212. The story, however, was the 37-year-old Sorenstam, who looks to have regained the form that helped her win 10 majors and earned her Player of the Year honours eight times. Sorenstam turned it on when needed, overcoming her lone bogey on the 11th hole with back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th before wrapping up the championship with a par on the 18th. In her final 32 holes of the tournament, Sorenstam recorded 10 birdies against just the one bogey. Gulyanamitta had four birdies in her bogey-free 68 while Diaz and Park each were hurt by a costly double-bogey on the front side. Sorenstam is intent on building on her opening success in 2008. “I could not have asked for a better start,” Sorenstam said. “We all have talked so much about &apos07. I think it&aposs time to talk about &apos08.” “I&aposm obviously very, very thrilled. It&aposs great to win tournaments.” “There&aposs some tournaments that mean a little bit more and they come at a special time. I would say this is one of them, as you know for many reasons.” In her final 32 holes of the tournament, Sorenstam recorded 10 birdies against just the one bogey. She pocketed $US165,000 for the victory. Sorenstam admitted that she had more energy heading into this tournament than she did in the previous 12 months. “Last year, the desire wasn&apost there,” Sorenstam said. “And my swing was definitely not there. Now it is. And, like I said, those are two important components you need to play well and to be the top player out here.”