Sorenstam completes her slam

 

Golf/Women's British Open:  Annika Sorenstam inevitably won the Weetabix Women's British Open here yesterday. David Davies reports from Royal Lytham

The Swede, who when not winning things is seemingly always in contention for them, produced a two-under-par final round of 70, for a 10-under total of 278, to hold off the South Korean, Se Ri Pak, by one shot.

It was a win that meant more than just another title. Sorenstam has now joined some of the greatest names in the game by completing her career grand slam, the US and British Opens, the LPGA championship and the Kraft Nabisco event.

"All my goals are coming true," said Sorenstam, who was close to tears afterwards. "This has been a career year."

It has that. This was her second major of 2003, the first being the LPGA, and she also created the greatest publicity the women's game has ever experienced when she competed with, and held up her head with, the men of the US Tour in the Colonial Invitational.

That took so much out of her she has only this week recovered sufficiently to cope with the strain of winning. But she was remorseless yesterday, and while her €229,000 prize will be welcome, the win was priceless.

She has now won six majors and is well on the way to her declared target of at least 10. Only seven women in history have won more and only one of those, Julie Inkster with seven, is currently active.

Karrie Webb and Grace Park were joint third on 280, and the overnight leader, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, trailed off into fifth place, four behind the winner.

Only 13 players out of the final-day 68 finished under par despite a week of light winds and almost constant sun - a testimony to the great test that Lytham is.

Thirty-four years ago Tony Jacklin came to the 18th at Lytham and decided to try to smash a driver over the eight bunkers that terrorise that tee-shot. He did so, and won the Open. Yesterday Sorenstam made the same decision and the Swede hit it perfectly.

All those years ago Henry Longhurst, commentating on television, said of Jacklin's drive: "What a corker!" Now he would be required to say: "Harligt slag," which is Swedish for "awesome shot", which indeed it was.

Afterwards the Swede said: "My thoughts were that if I hit it good, I can win this championship. So I decided to hit it."

Sorenstam deserved the win. She outplayed Pak when it mattered most, with the Korean having to get up and down from a greenside bunker at the 17th to save par after Sorenstam had hit two magnificent shots to eight feet.