Sorenstam Makes Swift Return to Winning Ways

The mark of a champion is to state your intentions of victory and then letting your ability do most of the talking.

This is exactly what Annika Sorenstam has done. After an horrendous 2007 in which she failed to win a trophy, the former world number one teed up for the first time in 2008 at the SBS Open, determined to use the Hawaii event as a springboard for her comeback.

She won the season-opening tournament at Turtle Bay Resort with birdies on two of the last three holes for a closing round of three-under 69. That gave her a total of 10-under 206 and a two-stroke victory over rookie Rusy Gulyanamitta, Laura Diaz and Jane Park.

It was her 70th professional victory and provided a major confidence booster as she tries to reclaim the number one spot from Lorena Ochoa, who was the dominant LPGA player last year with eight titles.

Sorenstam was clearly delighted with her victory, being quoted on cybergolf as saying:

“I could not have asked for a better start. We all have talked so much about ’07. I think it’s time to talk about ’08. And obviously I could not have – my clubs do the talking this particular week. I’m obviously very, very thrilled. It’s great to win tournaments. There’s some tournaments that mean a little bit more and they come at a special time. I would say this is one of them.”

Ochoa was not in Hawaii because she is saving herself for a new tournament in Singapore, but it was still a key triumph for Sorenstam, who was held back last year by neck and back injuries.

Also returning to winning ways was world number two men’s player Phil Mickelson, who triumphed at the Northern Trust Open on the PGA Tour at Riviera Country Club.

Mickelson finished at one-under 70 for a 12-under total of 272 and a two-stroke victory over Jeff Quinney. British Open champion Padraign Harrington and Luke Donald tied for third at 277.

On the men’s European Tour, Chilean Felipe Aguilar of Chile sank a five-foot putt for birdie on the final hole to win the Indonesian Open at the Cengkareng Golf Club.

He finished with a two-under-par 68 for a four-round total of 18-under-par 262 and a one-stroke victory over India’s Jeev Milkha Singh, who led at the 18th but narrowly missed out on a play-off after his par putt lipped out.

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