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Sorenstam one behind Park after second-round 67

5/20/2006 - Golf

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Annika Sorenstam's pesky missed cut
streak is finally over.

The eight-time LPGA Tour player of the year shot a 4-under 67
Saturday in the second round of the Sybase Classic, a round good
enough to have her one stroke behind leader Gloria Park and well
above the cut line.

"Obviously I'm very happy. I get to play Sunday so that's a
good thing. I've improved from last week. Kidding aside, I'm very
happy," said Sorenstam, who was at 3-under 139 after two trips
around the 6,161-yard Wykagyl Country Club course.

Park, the 2002 winner, also shot a 67.

With all play wiped out Friday because of heavy rain and the
first round not being completed until Saturday morning, LPGA
officials decided to shorten the $1.3 million tournament to 54
holes. The only other time this tournament was shortened to 54
holes was in 2000, the second time Sorenstam won it.

Allison Hanna, who had missed her last four cuts and had a best
finish of a tie for 22nd this year, bogeyed two of her last three
holes in a 71 that had her at 140.

Helen Alfredsson had a 66, the day's low round, and was in a
group of five tied for fourth at 1 under. Laura Diaz (68), 1992
champion Juli Inkster (69), rookie Seon Hwa Lee (71) and 2003
champion Hee-Won Han (73) also were at 141.

Han had the best round Saturday of the three players who were
tied for the first-round lead with 68s. Beth Bauer and Natalie
Gulbis had second-round 74s.

Sorenstam shot two 73s last week in missing the cut at the
Michelob Ultra Open by one stroke. She had last missed a cut in
2002, a run of 69 events. Her cut streak before that was 74
tournaments, dating to June 1999.

After an opening 72, Sorenstam had promised she was "going to
go low" in the second round. A day late because of the rain, she
did.

"I made some putts on the back nine," Sorenstam said,
referring to 11-foot birdies on Nos. 10 and 12 and an 18-foot par
save on 17. She also had three birdie putts of 4 feet or less. "I
feel like my game is in me, it just hasn't come out. And today I
found it on the back nine. … I can't really tell you what
happened all of a sudden. I don't know what it was but all of a
sudden I rattled some birdies."

It wasn't as if the 35-year-old was struggling this year, she
stands sixth on the money list and won the MasterCard Classic in
Mexico in May.

"I've had so many sweet runs and things have been going my way
for the last five, six years," Sorenstam said. "And now when I
look back it, I'm just fortunate it happened. … This is golf. I
have to remind myself of that every single day."

Park won here in 2002 in a playoff with Han. Sorenstam missed
that playoff by one stroke.

"I didn't have a good year so far but since I got here I have a
good memory here and feel good about it," said Park, who finished
in a tie for second in this tournament last year, one stroke behind
Paula Creamer. "Maybe I have extra confidence in my game, more
focus."

Park has made five of nine cuts this season with her best finish
a tie for 14th at the Franklin American Mortgage Championship two
weeks ago.

"Maybe since a month ago I was getting better," said Park, who
had six birdies Saturday, four on putts of at least 10 feet. She
bogeyed her 18th hole after becoming the only player in the field
to get to 5 under. "I can feel the difference out there."

Divots
Even with the tournament shortened, the winner's purse
remains $195,000. ... The leaders were to tee off about 9 a.m.
Sunday because of a forecast for a chance of late afternoon
thunderstorms. ESPN2's coverage will be shown on tape from 2-5 p.m.
EDT. ... Creamer had a 71 and was at 1-over 143. ... Lorena Ochoa
had a second 71 and her runner-up streak could be in jeopardy. The
second-leading money-winner on tour, Ochoa finished second in the
last three events. In her two starts before that she was second and
first. ... The last LPGA event shortened to 54 holes by weather was
the 2003 State Farm Classic won by Candie Kung. ... The cut was
8-over 150, the highest on the tour this year.