The impossible is beginning to appear inevitable, so impressive is Annika Sorenstam's march toward the Grand Slam.
Although shooting her poorest round of the week, a 1-over-par 73, she picked up the second leg of the Grand Slam on Sunday in the LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course, prevailing by three strokes over 15-year-old amateur Michelle Wie. Paula Creamer and Laura Davies tied for third, five back. Sorenstam, who won the Nabisco Championship in March by eight, will attempt to make it three straight majors at the U.S. Women's Open at Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado in two weeks.
Starting the day with a five-shot lead, Sorenstam went up by eight early in the round. Though struggling a bit down the stretch -- she failed to extend her tour record of 14 straight rounds in the 60s -- the outcome was never in doubt. She has won six of eight starts this season, and becomes the first LPGA player to capture the same major three years in a row. Her ninth major title puts her six behind all-time leader Patty Berg.
"This has been a great week in so many ways," said Sorenstam, who finished at 11-under 277. "As you all know, I have some really lofty goals."
This may not be the moment for deep reflection, but it's clear that her tremendous success has been overwhelming.
"I feel like I'm just a little girl from Sweden that came over here to follow my dreams and hope to win a few golf tournaments," she said. "I just feel like sometimes, have I really done this? Is it really true?"
It sure is, and probably will remain so for the foreseeable future. Even with her difficulties on the par 5s -- on which she was, incredibly, 3 over for the week -- Sorenstam seized the lead during the second round, and never relinquished it.
For Wie, it was another dazzling performance on one of the game's grand stages. She has twice finished in the top 10 at the Nabisco, including her first appearance at age 13. Still, some complained that, as an amateur, she didn't belong in a tournament that had been formerly reserved for professionals. Any criticism obviously did not hinder her play.
"I'm pretty used to people not wanting me at tournaments by now," said Wie, who shot a 69 Sunday, and was the only player to shoot under par in every round. "I don't want to prove anything to anyone. I was really happy to be here and I felt like I finished really strong."
If she had entered as a professional, Wie would have earned $164,385. "It's definitely a lot of money," she admitted, "but I like being an amateur, and it's not going to make me want to turn pro very soon."
Her plans include the U.S. Women's Open, and another crack at the PGA Tour. Wie, who has twice failed to make the cut in the Sony Open in Hawaii, will play at next month's John Deere Classic in Illinois.
"I feel really privileged to get another chance," she said. "It's going to be hot. I have to wear long pants, but aside from that, I'm excited."
So, no doubt, is Sorenstam, who will play recreational rounds this week at two classic courses: Pine Valley and Merion. If she wins in Colorado, the final hurdle for the Grand Slam will be the Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale in England in late July.
"I'm not thinking a second about tomorrow or the next week," said Sorenstam, who picked up her 62nd LPGA victory. "I worked hard for this and I want to enjoy it. This is what I wanted."