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Golf - 07. May 2011.

Mjorth wins her fifth LPGA Tour Victory

Maria Hjorth recorded her fifth-career LPGA Tour victory with a two-shot win over Rolex Rankings No. 13 Song-Hee Kim at the Avnet LPGA Classic. Hjorth, one of 27 Moms on the LPGA Tour, fired a 5-under 67 in the final round to capture the victory after starting the day three shots back of the third-round leaders, Kim and 16-year-old sponsor’s invite Lexi Thompson. Hjorth recorded four birdies in five holes on the front nine of the Crossings Course at Magnolia Grove to vault toward the top of the leaderboard and she weathered a couple bogeys on the back nine to finish at 10-under par for the tournament. She fired back-to-back rounds of 67 on the weekend to help capture the victory.

Hjorth’s last victory on Tour came at the 2010 season-ending LPGA Tour Championship when she defeated Amy Yang by a stroke. This is Hjorth’s second victory on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. She won the 2007 Navistar LPGA Classic at the Senator at Capitol Hill in Prattville, Ala. Hjorth has also recorded five International victories since turning professional in 1996.

Hjorth also made a generous donation to the victims of tornadoes that ripped through Alabama earlier in the week. "Due to the terrible devastation this week I feel the need to help the people of Alabama, by donating $20,000 from my winnings. I hope that this contribution helps in the recovery of people's lives moving forward," Hjorth said.

A familiar face on the bag: With her husband, Shaun McBride, on a break this week from caddying on the PGA Tour for Bryce Molder, Hjorth went with an all-family pairing on the course this week at the Avnet LPGA Classic. McBride used to caddy for Hjorth before the birth of their 2-year-old daughter, Emily. “It was really good to be able to have a win together,” Hjorth said. “Obviously he caddied for me full time two years ago before we had our daughter. We lost in the playoff at McDonald's LPGA Championship, so it was great to be able to have a win together. To have just an off week like this and to be able to pull it off is really good.”

Age is just a number: Most of the attention entering Sunday’s final round was on 16-year-old Lexi Thompson, who was the co-leader with Song-Hee Kim after 54 holes of play. But it was 37-year-old Hjorth who prevailed in the final round. “You know, it's fun to really be able to be out there and win again, even though, you know, I could have just as well been a mum to Alexis Thompson,” Hjorth said. “I mean, they're so young coming out here now and you're a bit older. But I think sometimes experience can help as well, and that's what you have to look at, too.”

The final round featured a few of the top players moving up the leaderboard late in the day. Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 14 and the 2011 Kraft Nabisco champion, shot a 3-under 69 to finish at 6-under for the tournament and finish in fifth after starting the day in a tie for 12th. Rolex Rankings No. 4 Na Yeon Choi also shot a 69 to finish in a tie for third with Rolex Rankings No. 5 Suzann Pettersen at 7-under par.

Comfortable at the top: Song-Hee Kim has yet to record a victory on the LPGA Tour but she’s certainly continued to put herself in contention. Kim’s 1-under 71 on Sunday gave her a runner-up finish and added to her impressive resume of Top-10 finishes. Kim recorded 16 Top-10 finishes in 23 events last season, which included a runner-up finish at the 2010 LPGA Championship presented by Wegmans.

Golden ticket winners: Maria Hjorth, Song-Hee Kim and Suzann Pettersen punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the Avnet LPGA Classic, each earning a spot in the season-ending CME Group Titleholders event, which will be held Nov. 17-20, 2011 at Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The inaugural CME Group Titleholders, a season finale with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament, is a format never previously used in professional golf. Hjorth won the 2010 LPGA Tour Championship at the course last season.

Hjorth is going to Canyon Ranch. With her victory at the 2011 Avnet LPGA Classic, Maria Hjorth earned an all-inclusive stay for two at a Canyon Ranch resort. In a combined effort to promote health and overall well-being among Tour players, Canyon Ranch will provide every winner of an LPGA event with one all-inclusive stay at one of Canyon Ranch's two destination resorts.
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