Sorenstam one behind Park after second-round 67

Updated: May 20, 2006, 7:57 PM ET
Associated Press

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.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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