Longs Drugs Challenge
Longs Drugs Challenge
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Inkster wins by 4 strokes

Juli Inkster was exhausted from dyeing Easter eggs and losing an hour of sleep Saturday night due to the time change, but it didn't seem to affect her performance.

Inkster kept everyone at a distance this afternoon, shooting a 2-under par 70 to capture the $600,000 Long Drugs Challenge, her second tour victory in the past month.

"I was frazzled after Saturday, just real tired," Inkster said. "And it really killed me to set that clock ahead one hour. I was more nervous playing with a lead in front of my family and friends. I didn't want to mess it up."

Holding a three-shot lead over Sherri Steinhauer to start the day at Twelve Bridges Golf Club, Inkster bogeyed two of the first seven holes as the lead dipped to two strokes.

Inkster then birdied the next three holes, moving to 8-under par and increasing the lead to five strokes. She bogeyed No.18, finishing with an 8-under par total of 280. Her second-round 67, the lowest of the tournament, put her in the lead for good.

Inkster also captured the Welch's/Circle K Championship in Tucson, Ariz. in mid-March, shooting a 65 on the final day for a one-stroke victory.

Her $90,000 victory Sunday, the 19th of her career, put Inkster over the $4 million mark in career earnings, placing her in a select group with eight other golfers. Coming off a career-year for earnings, she now has 22 points and is five points shy of making the LPGA Hall of Fame. Golfers are awarded one point for a victory, two for a major.

"You think about whether you can do that or not, I don't know," said Inkster, who moved into second place on this year's money list behind Karrie Webb. "I'm playing well right now and I'll be playing 2-1/2 more years, then retire."

Steinhauer never made a serious challenge in the final round, also shooting a 71 and finishing four strokes back. She birdied No.10 with a long putt and also No.17, where she took over sole possession of second place.

"In the beginning I wasn't confident or comfortable," Steinhauer said. "I didn't capitalize on any of the opportunities and Juli got pretty far ahead."

Annika Sorenstam was in a group of three players who finished with a 3-under, 285 total. Troubled by her putting all week, Sorenstam fell out of contention early Sunday, losing three strokes and going to 2-over after nine holes. Starting at No.10, she birdied four straight holes and also birdied 18, finishing with a 70.

"Today I couldn't get it going on the front, then I made a six-footer on 10," Sorenstam said. "Just making that one got me going. I had four in a row and I birdied 18. I was pleased with the way I finished."

Rookie A.J. Eathorne, who shot 70 on the final day for her best finish this season and Wendy Doolan both finished 3-under for the tournament.

Pearl Sinn, Jill McGill and Susie Redman ended at 2-under.

Divots: McGill shot a 71 in the final round for her best-ever finish. A four-year pro from Denver, her previous best was a tie for eighth last year. ... Last year's champion at Twelve Bridges, Donna Andrews, shot 74 in the first three rounds and had a 75 on Sunday. ... The three-day total for attendance was 49,000. ... Chris Johnson had the low round of the day with a 5-under 67. There were 27 golfers under par.


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