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Annika Sorenstam excited by grand slam

World number one Annika Sorenstam knows she must stay calm and in control despite being excited by the possibility of achieving the third leg of the grand slam at this week's U.S. Women's Open.

"I'm trying not to think too much about the grand slam," the brilliant Swede told reporters on the eve of the tournament on Wednesday.

"I just want to focus on one thing at a time and, at the moment, that is winning this golf tournament.

"But I am excited. It's a week I've been looking forward to for a long time. But I have to keep my emotions in check, stay patient and play smart."

Sorenstam has won the first two majors of the season, the Kraft Nabisco and the LPGA Championship.

Overall she has collected nine majors, the first two being the 1995 and 1996 U.S. Women's Opens.

Sorenstam looks back on her 1995 victory at the Broadmoor, a course in Colorado Springs around 70 miles from Cherry Hills, with a sense of awe.

"It was my first win on the LPGA Tour and it was almost a bit of a fluke," she said. "I started throwing away shots on the final few holes and was pleased that I didn't totally screw it up.

"Today, I am a completely different player. I'm much more in control and I have lots more experience."

Now the holder of 62 LPGA titles, a member of the LPGA Hall of Fame and fourth on the all-time list of major winners, Sorenstam boldly pronounced at the start of the year that her goal was to land all four majors in one season.

"I've never been afraid to say what I want to achieve," said the Swede, who has won six times from eight starts this season.

"It will be interesting to see if I can handle it."

Famous as the site of Arnold Palmer's only U.S. Open victory in 1960, Sorenstam said the 6,749-yard, par-71 Cherry Hills course was "an ultimate U.S. Open test".

"It's a great course and set up well for me. The premium will be on driving and hitting it in the fairway," she said.

"The rough is thick and the greens are small and that suits my game."

While the championship seems to be all about Sorenstam, defending champion Meg Mallon said the rest of the field should try and forget about the Swede.

"If you start thinking about stopping Annika then she'll run straight by you," said the 42-year-old American, twice a winner of this event and runner-up to Sorenstam 10 years ago.

"You've got to go out and concentrate on your own game."

If Sorenstam can capture this week's title, she will seek the final leg of the grand slam in the Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale from July 28-31.


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