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Sorenstam sets sights on final major

World number one Annika Sorenstam, who pulled out of the Canadian Open with exhaustion three weeks ago, says she is physically fit but emotionally drained going into this week's British Open.

The tournament, which begins on Thursday, is the last of the year's four women's major championships, and the only one not yet clinched by the 32-year-old Swede.

"I'm pretty close to feeling 100 percent physically, but emotionally and psychologically, I'm still not quite there," Sorenstam said on Tuesday.

"But I am more rested than I was before the U.S. Open (earlier this month). At least my brain is now on golf."

Sorenstam claimed her fifth major, the LPGA Championship, last month but her season has been marked by her appearance alongside the men on the PGA Tour's Colonial in May.

The Swede became the first female player to compete in a PGA Tour event since Babe Zaharias in 1945. She missed the cut by four shots.

"Colonial was a wonderful experience but, since I made the decision to play alongside the men back in February, I've had to do so much," she said.

"I've played in a lot of tournaments and there has been a lot of TV shows and other things to cope with.

"It was all worth it and I wouldn't change a thing, but I'm paying the price right now."

Victory for Sorenstam at Lytham on Sunday would complete a career grand slam of all four available majors.

"I would love for it to happen, but I can't force it," she said.

"That's one thing I've learned over the years. Especially in the majors, you've got to be patient. On Thursday, you can't start thinking ahead to Sunday."

Three times a runner-up at the British Open, Sorenstam believes she is due for a breakthrough victory, although she has yet to perform at her best on links courses.

She missed the cut when Australia's Karrie Webb won the title at Turnberry in Scotland last year.

But after playing her first practice round in wet conditions on Tuesday, Sorenstam said: "I love the test of a links course and today I kept thinking 'wow, this is a great hole'.

"But I think the final four holes here are going to be the key. They are very tough."

Sorenstam has frequently hinted that retirement may not be too far away, although she said that she still had one ambition.

"My body will tell me when the time is right, when I no longer have the desire to play and to practise.

"But I would love to win 10 majors. I've got five right now, so I'd better get going.

 

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