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Sorenstam’s tearful farewell

Fort Worth, May 24 (Reuters): Annika Sorenstam walked off the 18th green with tears in her eyes after returning a four-over-par 74 in the second round to miss the cut at the PGA’s Colonial Classic on Friday.

The 32-year-old Swede, the first female player to compete in a PGA Tour event since Babe Zaharias took part in the 1945 Los Angeles Open, finished five-over on 145, four shots shy of the cut line.

“It’s been a lot of pressure, a lot of emotion,” Sorenstam told reporters. “I want to come back tomorrow though. But I gave it all. I tried. I gave everything I had.”

Kenny Perry and Dan Forsman shared the lead on 132, eight under. Sorenstam’s playing partners Dean Wilson and Aaron Barber were on 138 and 146, respectively.

“I won’t reconsider,” said Sorenstam when asked if she would try playing on the PGA Tour again. “I’m very thankful and honoured to have been here but I know where I belong.

“I’m going to go back with all the experience that I learned this week and I want to win tournaments. I want to set records and this week here is going to help me to do that.”

Sorenstam, who began her campaign with a 71, birdied the second hole to return to even par. Her round, though, began to unravel at the fifth where she made the first of five bogeys in an eight-hole stretch.

The world’s leading female golfer, who has made 75 of her last 76 cuts on the LPGA Tour, finished her round with six successive pars.

When it became apparent that Sorenstam might not make the cut, she began to interact more with the supportive galleries who had cheered her on both days.

On the 18th hole, she pulled her tee shot left and then chipped over trees into the fairway. As she walked up to the green, she received a standing ovation and members of the gallery yelled “Go, Annika”.

Sorenstam responded by applauding before she pitched to nine feet below the hole and sunk her par-saving putt. After hugs from Wilson and Barber, she wiped away tears as she walked off the green.

The Swede hit 11 of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens in regulation. She had 30 putts, adding to the 33 she took on Thursday.

“I wasn’t as nervous on the first tee,” Sorenstam said. “I hit a good tee shot on the first hole, was pretty happy about that. But I just didn’t feel as comfortable over the ball as I did yesterday.”

Sorenstam will play the LPGA Tour’s Kellogg Keebler Classic in Chicago next week. She is the defending champion.

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