LPGA Tour

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STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. – Sung Ah Yim picked her first LPGA Tour victory in the most unlikely way possible: a final-round collapse by Annika Sorenstam that allowed the 22-year-old South Korean to win by two strokes Sunday.

After three straight rounds in the 60s gave Sorenstam the lead going to the final day of the Florida’s Natural Charity Championship, she slumped to a 3-over 75 that left her in a three-way tie for second with Karrie Webb and Cristie Kerr.

“It was not a very good day for me,” Sorenstam said. “I didn’t play well at all. I just want to forget about this day as quickly as possible.”

Yim, in just her second year on the tour, played in the final group with Sorenstam. Amazingly, the part-time university student was the one who held it together at the end, scrambling for a 72 that was good enough to win. She got up and down from the fringe on three straight holes before knocking in a short birdie putt at the par-5 18th to finish at 16-under 272.

Sorenstam was seeking her second straight win at Eagle’s Landing Country Club near Atlanta and the 68th LPGA Tour victory of her Hall of Fame victory. She was tied for the lead heading to No. 17, but she knocked her tee shot out of bounds along the right side of the fairway.

After teeing off again, Sorenstam nearly pulled off a remarkable save, putting her fourth shot within 5 feet of the flag. But her putt slid by the hole – one of a half-dozen attempts she missed from that range – for a double bogey.

Yim went to the final hole knowing that a par would probably be good enough to win. She laid up with her second shot, then stuck a wedge right alongside the flag. Sorenstam had a shot at eagle, but her chip from the second cut behind the green slid past the left edge of the cup.

That took the pressure off Yim, who rolled in a 4-foot birdie putt to win.

Countrywoman Hee-Won Han, who finished three shots back, ran onto the green and doused Yim with two cans of Coke. Yim then slung her ball into the fans sitting on the grassy bank surrounding the green – a little too hard, as it turned out.

Several fans ducked to avoid getting hit, and Yim let out an embarrassed grin. Clearly, she still needs to work on her victory celebration, which isn’t surprising since she had never finished higher than third until this week.

Sorenstam was the clear favorite heading into the final day. She won this tournament by a record 10 strokes a year ago, and was ahead of Yim by one shot after putting up a 64 on Saturday.

No one else was within five strokes of the lead.

“Sometimes, it doesn’t go your way,” moaned Sorenstam, who hasn’t had to say that often. “I hit a few bad shots, a few bad putts, and it just accumulated. Fortunately for me, I’m playing next week. I’ve got to forget about this as soon as I can.”

Kerr closed with a 69, and Webb shot a 70.

AP-ES-04-23-06 1915EDT

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