Originally created 04/21/01

Sorenstam must wait to match Lopez's record

LINCOLN, Calif. -- Annika Sorenstam was hopeful three more rounds would make up for a slow start in the Longs Drugs Challenge. Now she'll have only two to tie the record for most consecutive LPGA Tour wins.

After initially delaying the start of Friday's second round because of steady rain, tour officials called it off and shortened the tournament to 54 holes.

Most of the players had been alerted about the delay before leaving for the Twelve Bridges Golf Club. The few players on the scene when it was canceled at midmorning scampered to waiting cars.

Sorenstam, vying for a record-tying fifth straight victory, shot a 1-over 73 Thursday, seven strokes behind leader Se Ri Pak. She stayed at her hotel Friday morning.

"Traditions over the years have provided for an accepted test in golf -- and that allows for 72 holes," Sorenstam said. "I would have liked to see it get there -- be it 36 Sunday or even a Monday finish.

"This decision to go to 54 seems a little premature."

Pak, who shot a 6-under 66, and Michele Redman, two strokes off the lead, also never arrived.

"The ultimate decision, rather than putting the players through this, or putting them out there and pulling them back in all day, we decided to make it a 54-hole tournament," director Brian Flajole said.

Karen Stupples, who was 10 strokes behind Pak with a first-round 76, was among the first groups set to go off Friday.

"I am on the bubble and was hitting the ball well on the range this morning," she said. "I was ready."

Weather also was a problem Thursday.

Sorenstam played at times in pouring rain, then had to wait nearly an hour to complete the final hole because of lightning.

Starting Thursday on the back nine, Sorenstam bogeyed the par-3 13th and par-4 14th.

"What makes me feel better is it's a four-day tournament," she had said after the round. "I have three more days."

With four consecutive tour victories, Sorenstam is attempting to tie Nancy Lopez's streak of five straight tournament wins set in 1978 when she was a 21-year-old rookie.

Sorenstam, in her eighth year on the tour, won at Los Angeles last weekend by rallying from a 10-shot deficit with a final-round 66. Playing in six events this year, she has placed second twice and won the others.

She also shot the first 59 in women's competition in the second round of the Standard Register Ping at Phoenix, and won her first major title in five years, taking the Nabisco Championship.

Pak, who didn't make the cut last week at Los Angeles, won the first tournament of the year at Orlando, and finished second in two others. She is third on the money list.

The forecast called for partly cloudy skies and slightly warmer temperature Saturday, with additional clearing for the final round.


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