Top-ranked women's player Annika Sorenstam made a run at victory Sunday, but came up just short in the final round of the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship.
The Swede started the day six shots behind leader Kris Tschetter, but made up ground with a 4-under 32 on the front nine. A birdie on the par-5 12th pulled her within a shot, but she suffered a three-putt bogey on the next hole and made par on the remaining holes. She wound up tied for fourth with Lorie Kane, two shots behind winner Tina Fischer.
"Overall, I'm very happy with the way I played (Sunday)," she said. "There were a couple of holes that let me down."
Sorenstam, one of the players unhappy with the decision to reduce the tournament from 72 holes to 54 when weather interrupted play Thursday and Friday, had one of the day's low rounds with a 68.
"Too bad about the weather," she said. "I would have preferred to play 72 holes. It happens sometimes."
With her finish and $57,365 in earnings, Sorenstam increased her lead in the season earnings race. Se Ri Pak, No. 2 on the money list, withdrew from the Asahi Ryokuken event in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. No. 3 Karrie Webb played this week, but finished well back after rounds of 71, 73 and 71.
Sorenstam now has $1,666,306 in winnings this year, while Pak has $1,329,509 and Webb improved to $1,220,179.
EMOTIONAL EDGE: Mitzi Edge had tears in her eyes as she walked up the 18th hole Sunday at Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club.
The Augusta native faltered a bit in the final round, shooting a 2-over-par 74.
"I probably put too much pressure on myself," said Edge, the lone pro in the field with ties to Augusta. "It was a great learning experience for me. I got tears in my eyes walking up 18."
Edge started the day 4-under for the event, but made a double bogey on her second hole. She played even-par the rest of the way and wound up tied for 33rd, earning $7,081.
The 17-year LPGA veteran came into the tournament No. 97 on the season money list, but her finish moved her up to No. 95. The top 90 at the end of the year earn exemptions for the 2002 season.
Silvia Cavalleri, No. 87 on the money list entering this week, slipped to No. 91 after missing the 36-hole cut.
"I'll play in plenty of events next year," Edge said. "I'll continue to play. Maybe one day I'll sneak in a win. This year I've seen some improvements."
PUTTING WOES: The slippery putting surfaces at Mount Vintage Plantation befuddled 36-hole leader Tschetter, who shot a 3-over 75 in Sunday's final round.
"I just struggled on the greens today," said Tschetter, who hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation. "I had a four-putt and a three-putt and that pretty much summed up my day."
The four-putt came on the 8th hole, from about 15 feet, where Tschetter took a double bogey. The three-putt came on the 12th, from only six feet, and resulted in bogey.
"They were short. I just yipped them," she said. "That ugly word."
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Hee-Won Han of Korea clinched LPGA Rolex Rookie of the Year honors Sunday. She became the third Korean in the last four years to claim the honor, following in the footsteps of Se Ri Pak and Mi Hyun Kim.
She held a 59-point advantage over Becky Morgan, who did not play at Mount Vintage, entering this week's event and clinched by placing tied for 63rd at 3-over 219.
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