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Sorenstam aiming to write more history

The one golfer in the world hotter than Tiger Woods -- Annika Sorenstam -- gets her turn to write some more golf history this week.

The 30-year-old Swede will be gunning for a record-setting fifth consecutive LPGA Tour victory starting on Thursday in the Longs Drugs Challenge at Twelve Bridges Golf Club outside Sacramento, California.

"I have a chance to make history," Sorenstam, whose current winning streak is one better than Woods, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

"But I feel calm about my game. I'm on a roll and want to see how far I can go."

Woods captivated the golf world with his Masters triumph earlier this month that made him the first player ever to hold all four major championship titles at once. His victory at Augusta National also marked his third PGA Tour win in a row.

Sorenstam's dream run also includes a women's major -- last month's Nabisco Championship -- and a historic 59 she shot in the second round of the Standard Register Ping in Phoenix, which made her the first woman to break 60 competitively.

Being in the "zone" is definitely a special feeling.

"It doesn't matter what you do, things go your way," she said.

"Putts go in. The ball bounces the right way. It's like being a driver in the street with a green light all the time. It's fun. You have a lot of confidence. You believe you can hit all kinds of shots. It's easy when things go your way."

Sorenstam said she does not feel overshadowed by all the attention that Woods has been getting for his achievements.

"I'm happy, I've had good coverage," she said about the publicity she has received. "What Tiger is doing is phenomenal itself. Me doing it at the same time has put golf in the forefront. I think it's great.

"I want to win tournaments. Tiger's winning tournaments, too. Golf is an exciting sport these days. Records are being broken everywhere."

The Stockholm native matched Kathy Whitworth (1969) and Mickey Wright (1962 and 1963) in winning four successive scheduled events when she won City of Hope LPGA Classic in Los Angeles after a sensational comeback, charging from 10 shots behind in the final round.

Another victory would make Sorenstam the first ever to win five successive tournaments, and put her name alongside Nancy Lopez, who won five successive starts in the 1978 season, skipping a tour stop in the middle of her rousing run.

Sorenstam's extraordinary season also includes two second-place finishes in the only two events she has not won.

Despite all the pressure and demands on her time during her historic victory streak, Sorenstam says she feels great heading into this week's tournament.

"I had two weeks off before last week," she said about the break in the LPGA calendar. "I was very tired after Nabisco, especially emotionally. But two weeks off, I rested and had time to work on my game, to come down a little bit. So mentally and physically I feel great."

Sorenstam said her amazing success this year was born from frustrations she felt after the 1999 season, which was well below her high standards. She won twice and finished fourth on the money list and vowed to improve.

Sorenstam, aiming for five in a row. Allsport.

"I was disappointed in my season and the way I played," she explained.

"It was not where I wanted to be. I looked at myself and my game, to what I could do to improve. It's not something that happens overnight. I worked on my short game, putting especially, and I got in better shape.

"Now it's been 16, 17 months and it's starting to pay off. I'm in a spot where I want to be."

Sorenstam was asked about which was more important to her, the magical round of 59 or the four wins in a row.

"It's like comparing apples and oranges. I wouldn't want to give away one for the other. Shooting 59 was unbelievable. I had dreams about doing that one day, but not in competition. That particular day felt like I was walking on clouds."

"Now I'm here, and I've won four in a row shooting for five.

"I know what's at stake and I want to do it. But I won't feel bad if I don't. I don't feel the pressure. I'm just excited that I'm playing well."









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