Annika Sorenstam shot 67-65-64=196 (-17) to win by four over Juli Inkster and tie her own LPGA record with her eleventh consecutive round in the 60s. The win is the 61 st of Sorenstam’s career, and she has now won five of her seven events this year, seven of her last nine and nine of her last 13 overall.
Shoprite LPGA Classic Seaview Resort & Spa, A Marriott Resort, Bay Course Galloway Township, N.J. June 5, 2005 Final-round interviews
Annika Sorenstam, 67-65-64=196 (-17) Scorecard: Hole 4, 344-yard par 4: birdie – sand wedge to seven feet Hole 9, 382-yard par 4: birdie – pitching wedge to 28 feet Hole 10, 403-yard par 4: birdie – 7-iron to 21 feet Hole 13, 114-yard par 3: birdie – sand wedge to eight feet Hole 17, 337-yard par 4: birdie – sand wedge to seven feet Hole 18, 508-yard par 5: eagle – 4-iron short, rolled in 38-foot putt right off the green
PAUL ROVNAK: Annika, thanks for coming in.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Thanks for having me.
PAUL ROVNAK: Congratulations.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Thanks.
PAUL ROVNAK: This is your 61st win overall, and your fifth win in seven tournaments this year. This is the third time you have won this tournament and you have also played your last eleven rounds in the 60s. Can you try and put it all into perspective for us.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Wow, yes. I don’t know if you can really put it into perspective. I would say I’m overwhelmed. When you look at all the stats, it’s just something obviously it’s something I’m very proud of, but not something I walk around thinking about. It was a fun day today going out and playing with Juli in the last group. Good crowds, good course, good tournaments. On the back nine you know there are some birdies to get and you know you have to play good golf to win. It’s a great setting, a great finish. And to be able to finish to tie the birdie with Juli on 17 and then to roll in a fabulous putt on 18, the eagle, it doesn’t get much better than that. This is when I look at my career and say, Hey, this is why I do this. This is why I wake up in the mornings and love to practice and can come out here. Having said all that, obviously I’m thrilled to be sitting here and couldn’t have asked for a better day.
Q. When you started the day, did you have a number in mind that you figured you had to shoot with Juli and Laura that close?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I didn’t really have a number, but I knew I needed to make some birdies out there. Like I said, the back nine, especially the finishing holes, 16 and 18, you know birdies are going to be something you have to make there, and same thing with 3. I knew I could play some good golf. The conditions were perfect, it was warm. There was hardly any wind. It was setting up to be a perfect low scoring day. That’s really what I had in mind, to play the best I could. I started off so so. I didn’t birdie the third, but came back and birdied the fourth. I was steady all day. I think that was the key.
Q. Talk about the mindset on both 10 and 17. Juli is very close on both holes, and 10 you make the long one and on 17 you get one on top of her. What goes through your mind on situations like that?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Obviously she had a birdie set on 10. I had a really good shot in there. I was in between clubs. And actually, the first 12 holes I was in between clubs all day, and it was one of those days where I was really it was tough because I couldn’t get the right club. On 10, I decided to hit one club more which was a 7 iron and I hit a good shot and it turned out to be a little long. And when I topped it on Juli she’s like, What’s that all about? I hit it close and here you go.” I said, “Juli, that’s the strategy, you want to putt first.” She putted first on 17 and she made it. But luckily I made that putt. It think that was the key putt, it was a little right to left, it was only seven feet, but it had a little break to it. To make that putt, knowing I had had a two shot lead going to 18, it’s a big difference compared to going into a hole like 18, when birdies or eagles are possible.
Q. Do you ever feel unbeatable, with winning 7 of 9 and the way you’ve been playing on this run?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I don’t walk around thinking who can beat me and can I win this week. I come here and feel very confident with what I do. I love what I do. I stand on the tee, I pick a club, I hit it, I trust the decisions I make. Same thing when I read a putt. Once I decide it’s the right edge, I hit it right edge. I don’t walk around wondering who can beat me. I know what I have got to do. I have to play from A to B in as few shots as possible. That’s really my mindset. I don’t worry too much about what everyone else is doing. If I don’t birdie the first or the second, I know maybe the third. I just keep on grinding.
Q. Were you aware you were falling two strokes behind Davies right at the start?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I saw a leaderboard when I walked down the 4th hole. I saw that and then I rolled in a birdie after that. And then I didn’t really hear a lot after that. The way I was looking at it, nothing was really happening in the group ahead. I wasn’t really doing anything either until pretty much the back nine.
Q. The eagle putt on 18 looked longer than 38 to me. Was it 38? Do you know the exact distance?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I don’t know. It was an eyeball. But you know what, under the circumstances, I’m sure I could be wrong. It was a long putt, but I can tell you the break of it, it was right to left.
Q. How did it feel when you hit it? Did you know it had a good chance of going in or are you surprised it went that well?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I was trying to get it close, get the right speed. I had a good read on it. I figured once it got over the ridge it would break down towards the bay and that’s what happened. I wanted to get it close and have a tap in and not worry too much about the second putt.
Q. It was your 6th consecutive tournament in which you won after leading or sharing the lead coming into the final round. Do you pride yourself on your closings?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yes, definitely. I’m proud of my whole career. I’m proud of the way I played today. Sometimes I wonder why all these good things are happening to me, but I’ll take it. I’m not going to question it too much. Obviously I’m thankful for everything I’ve got. It’s a great day.
Q. Juli actually said that you made some putts you didn’t have any business making. Would you agree with that assessment?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Once you have a putter in your hand, I believe you can make anything. I’ve putted really well this week. I think my speed on the greens have been really good. I did one 3 putt, which was yesterday. Other than that, I’ve been very solid with the putter. You have to be able to score here. The greens are small and you’re not always going to hit the greens. But if you execute around the greens, there you go.
Q. Do you set goals for yourself? For example, you have 11 rounds in a row in the 60s. And you’re well aware of that. So is there a target for you that you’re going for?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I set goals. I mean, I set short term goals, I set long term goals. I’m going to be honest, my goal has not been to shoot X number of rounds in the 60s. That just happens. I set goals in winning tournaments. I set goals in shooting the lowest score and so forth. Those are the type of goals I have. Along the way you shoot in the 60s, maybe in the 50s, but those are goals that I set.
Q. Do you have any plans to play any PGA events in the future?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: No, I don’t. I don’t have any plans whatsoever, actually.
Q. You played the back nine. Any particular reason why you were able to play the back nine so low every round?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It just seemed like the par 5s, I played good on the back. Today I didn’t birdie 16, but I don’t really know. There are some great birdie opportunities on the front. I don’t know if I’m a slow starter, but I’m definitely a good finisher, so I’ll take that. I don’t know why, I think both nines are very similar. We have a long par 3 on 11. That makes it a little tougher. But maybe I just get warmed up, and I shot lights out on the back.
Q. Now that you’re done with this tournament you’ll be playing a tournament at a new venue. Will you proceed with the week, and could you just talk about going for the second leg of the Grand Slam?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Next week is a big week and the week I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Coming into next week I could not have gotten a better preparation. I feel like I’m putting the ball well. I’m putting very well. If you look at it that way, I’m prepared, I’m ready to go. To win a tournament, there are a lot of things that have to go right. There’s no doubt about it. I’m going to go there tomorrow, and the Pro Am and Tuesday and practice round Wednesday, get a feel for the place and see what kind of course it is. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Hopefully I can continue to play well, hit the ball good. That’s what you have to do in a major. Again, you have to roll it to win. I just hope my momentum continues. I’ve had good luck this week. A lot of things have gone right, and that’s really what it takes.
Q. Do you know off the top of your head how many majors where you’ve won the week going in?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: No, I don’t, but this year I won in Phoenix and I won Nabisco.
Q. Juli mentioned earlier how much she enjoyed playing with you today. Does it make it easier or is it more fun when you play with someone you like and enjoy their company?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Definitely. Who doesn’t want to play with somebody you like? It makes for a lot more fun. We talked quite a bit out there. There were two or three holes where we came to the tee and we had to wait 10 or 15 minutes. It’s fun to play with somebody who you have a lot in common with. And Juli is just so easy going. I think everybody gets along with Juli. Definitely it’s fun to play with somebody you get along with.
Q. Coming in today you mentioned you would take the first couple of holes and assess your strategy after that. Did you have to change anything? For instance, when Laura got off to the early lead, did you think you had to be more aggressive or anything like that?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I didn’t birdie the third hole, which was a little disappointing. I hit a bad second shot, but I came back with a birdie on the fourth right away, and I was only one behind and I thought, that’s not a big deal, we still have 14 holes to play. And it felt like the wind was picking up a little bit. I kept a close eye on Laura. I was looking at the leaderboard all the time. And Juli was right there. And she made a mistake on the 6th hole and couldn’t get it going again. I felt I was up there pretty much the hole day.
Q. Before 18, was there a point where you said, okay, it’s over?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It’s never over. I’ve learned that lesson. The key putt was, I think, 17. Once she made birdie and I topped that, that was the key for me. Two shots is a big difference than one going into 18. 18 is a birdie hole and she hit a good drive and she had a wood in her hand and was going for it in two. I felt like I had to do it too. It’s never over until it’s over. She could have holed her shot and I could have made par from where I was, so it could have changed in a heartbeat.