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Golf - 17. February 2008.

Annika Takes Charge


Annika Sorenstam held a share of the lead going into today's (Sunday a.m. Singapore time) final round of the SBS Open at Hawaii's Turtle Bay Resort.

The 37-year-old Swedish legend, who will head the field at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore later this month, shot a five-under-par second round 67 to move to seven under for the tournament.

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She recovered from an early double-bogey, to post five birdies on a faultless back nine yesterday.

Today she seeks to record the 86th victory of her career and her 70th on the LPGA, make up for going winless on the tour last year when plagued by a neck injury. Ominously for her rivals, she feels completely in command of her swing.

"I'm in control of my game. I feel like I'm the boss out there and I'm hitting it where I want to hit it. That's been a while. I've had stretches where I've felt that, but now it's consistent 18 holes and another round and another round and that's what I'm looking for."

Leading the pack trying to stop Sorenstam is Erica Blasberg, a 23-year-old American who has never finished higher than 18th at an LPGA event. Tied with Sorenstam after two rounds, she says her new mellow approach to her golf should help her avoid being daunted by playing alongside the Hall of Fame member.

"I think some of some of those things can get into your head – you're playing with the world's greatest player, you've got the last group – but I'm just go out there and play golf and not really think about what's going on around me," Blasberg said.

"Having fun is kind of my motto this year. Where in the past I was stressed out a little too much about different things, now I'm just enjoying it."

All three of the bright young stars destined to be in Singapore for the HSBC Women's Champions the week after next both had memorable second rounds to put themselves in contention.

Momoko Ueda, who at 21 years of age, is the youngster player to win the money list on the Japanese Tour, was just one shot behind Sorenstam at the start of the final round along with 2007 US Open winner Cristie Kerr, Jane Park and Laura Diaz..

Meanwhile last year's LPGA Rookie of the Year Angela Park of Brazil and Korean sensation Ji-Yai Shin are another two shots behind.

Park shot the best round of the tournament so far on day two - a seven-under-par 65 that had her reaching for her surfing metaphors.

"I caught a wave with my putting and I rode it all the way to the shore," she declared.

"Hopefully my putter will stay this hot today and all the way to Singapore, in fact all year… or all of my career!"

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