Lytham St Anne’s: World No. 1 Annika Sorenstam claimed her sixth major and completed a career Grand Slam when she held off her greatest rival, South Korea's Se Ri Pak, to win the women’s British Open on Sunday.
In a perfect finale, Sorenstam and Pak, paired together, stood on the 18th tee tied for the lead. While Sorenstam made the perfect par four for a final round 70, Pak, the world No. 2, fatally drove into a bunker and took a bogey five for a 72.
On ten under 278, Sorenstam, three times a British Open runner-up, won the £160,000 prize by a shot from Pak with another South Korean, Grace Park, and Australia’s Karrie Webb, who put up a stout defence, tied for third on eight under.
“This feels great,” said the Swede, who was celebrating her fifth win worldwide this year.
It was also her second major having won her first LPGA Championship in June.
“This is a championship I have always wanted to win. To complete the Grand Slam is just amazing. I can hardly believe I have won my sixth major, and now I’ve won each of the four.”
The victory further underlined her belief that her controversial appearance alongside the men at the PGA Tour's Colonial in May has made her an even better competitor.
“This whole year has just been fantastic,” she continued. “Colonial, the LPGA Championship and now a first British Open. It’s a dream scenario. It was great playing with Se Ri, and I knew she would be tough to beat. But I just tried to pile on the pressure.”
Sorenstam began the round two shots off the lead, and it was a day when a number of players jostled for the top spot. But she proved to be the steadiest of the contenders, and again proved her ability to master the harshest of pressure.
She did drop an early shot, at the fourth, but hit back with birdies at three of the long holes, the sixth, 11th and 15th.
Pak missed a bundle of early chances and ended the day with three birdies and three bogeys.
“It was a thrilling day but you always know that Annika is going to play really well,” said Pak. “I thought I was unlucky with my bounce off the tee shot at the last. Nothing went quite right for me.”