State Farm Classic
State Farm Classic
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Golden wins with closing 63

Kate Golden finally put it all together in a breakthrough LPGA Tour victory.

Golden roared past Annika Sorenstam to win her first tour title, shooting a 9-under-par 63 today to overcome a six-stroke deficit in the State Farm Classic.

``It's like a tidal wave,'' Golden said. ``I finally got my four rounds in a row. I usually drive the ball well, and I'm a pretty good putter. When my irons are on is when I really play well.''

Golden's career-best 63 gave her a 21-under 267 total, four strokes better than the previous tournament record. She earned $150,000 to nearly triple her season earnings at $200,979.

``My knees started shaking on the 15th tee, and they haven't stopped yet,'' the 33-year-old former University of Texas star said after friends showered her with beer in celebration.

Sorenstam closed with a 70 to finish a stroke back. The Swede missed a 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have forced a playoff.

``To win her first event the way she won it, she played spectacular,'' Sorenstam said of Golden. ``I don't think I gave it to her. I think she won it.''

Golden birdied the final three holes of the front nine to make the turn at 5-under 31 and pull within two strokes of Sorenstam.

The Texan answered Sorenstam's birdie on No. 10 with some strong putting that started on the 183-yard, par-3 11th, where she dropped a sharp-breaking 30-footer that she called ``the bomb.''

``When that went in, the hair stood up on the back of my neck, and I said, 'Here we go,''' Golden said.

She followed with birdies on Nos. 12, 14 and 15, and just missed birdie putts on the 13 and 16.

Sorenstam, a six-time winner this year, fell two strokes back with a bogey on No. 16. She got a stroke back on the 335-yard 17th after nearly holing a sand wedge for eagle. Her birdie try to force a playoff on No. 18 finished inches to the right of the hole.

``It didn't go where I thought it would go,'' she said. ``I just wasn't as solid, wasn't as sharp as I've been all week. ... If someone had told me, 'You're going to shoot 20 under for the week,' I would have taken it.''

Moira Dunn, the only player to shoot four rounds in the 60s, had a 67 to finish four strokes back at 271. Emilee Klein (68) followed at 272, and Laura Diaz (67) was fifth at 273.

Sorenstam let the tournament slip away on the downhill par-5 15th and the difficult 165-yard 16th. Her second shot on No. 15 stopped within inches of a greenside pond. She pitched long and had to settle for par.

After pulling her tee shot on No. 16 into a difficult lie, she left her chip 25 feet short and missed the par putt to fall two shots behind.

Sorenstam earned $93,092 to increase her tour-leading total to $1,599,302, and also claimed $100,000 in unofficial money by winning the State Farm Series -- a $250,000 bonus pool distributed on the basis of performance in 12 select events.

With this week's finale worth triple points, Golden vaulted into fourth place and took home an additional $20,000.



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