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Roundup

Sorenstam Takes Five-Shot Lead

Associated Press
Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page E06

Annika Sorenstam's game is nearing perfection. All she needs to practice now is her leap into the pond.

The most dominant player in women's golf all but wrapped up the first major of the year yesterday, shooting a flawless 6-under 66 in the third round to take a commanding five-shot lead over Rosie Jones in the Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, Calif.


Annika Sorenstam watches a tee shot at the Nabisco Championship, where she is aiming for the first major title of the year. She shot 6-under 66 in the third round. (Robert Galbraith -- Reuters)

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In her relentless quest to both win her first major of the year and enter the LPGA Tour record book once again with her fifth straight tournament win, Sorenstam birdied four holes on the front nine and two on the back to shoot the lowest score of the week on the Mission Hills Country Club course.

"Obviously I'm in great shape for tomorrow," Sorenstam said.

Jones, in her final year on tour, birdied the final hole to shoot a 71 and inch a shot closer, but the only other players closer than 10 shots off the lead were Mi Hyun Kim and Cristie Kerr at seven shots back.

"She's the last person you want to have a five-shot lead," Jones said.

About the only excitement left on the final day may be how artistically Sorenstam takes the traditional winner's jump into the pond surrounding the 18th green. She's likely to do well at that, too, because she's had practice by winning here twice in the last four years.

Assuming Sorenstam wins, she will tie the record set by Nancy Lopez in 1978 of winning five consecutive events played.

A win also would give Sorenstam a start toward doing something no other female golfer has ever done: Win all four majors in one year.

"Tomorrow I want to have a day like I did today," she said. "It was just a great day for me out there."

Sorenstam didn't take long to separate herself from the pack. She started the day tied at 5 under with Jones, but promptly birdied the second and third holes and was on her way.

• EUROPEAN TOUR: Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand retained the lead in the rain-interrupted Indonesia Open in Jakarta after play was suspended in the third round.

Thaworn, who will play 27 holes today to complete his four rounds, was 15-under par midway through his third round.

Colin Montgomerie and rest of the field completed second-round play early at the par-70 Cengkareng Golf Club, but rain again halted play. None of the 79 players completed the third round.


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