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Sörenstam to retire at end of season

Annika Sörenstam, who won the 72nd title of her LPGA career on Sunday, will retire at the conclusion of the 2008 season, the 37-year-old Swedish superstar announced on Tuesday.

Sörenstam to retire at end of season

Sörenstam has won three tournaments this season after going without a title in an injury-plagued 2007 campaign. She has won an LPGA career-record $22 million with her victory on Sunday at the Michelob Ultra Open.

“I have given it my all and it has been fun,” Sörenstam said. “I came back from an injury last year. I am healthy. I feel good. I have started strong this season and I will be leaving the game on my own terms.”

The former world number one announced her decision at the site of this week’s LPGA Sybase Classic in Clifton, New Jersey, just hours after she was among several players who rang the opening bell on Tuesday at the New York Stock Exchange.

Sörenstam likened her situation to that of American football star Brett Favre, who retired from the National Football League earlier this year.

“I was watching Brett Favre when he announced his retirement. He said he loved the competition. He was just tired of the daily grind – and I feel the same way,” Sörenstam said.

“While I will be stepping away, I will be very engaged in the game of golf, but in a different way.”

Sörenstam is second on the money list and in the world rankings to Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa, who took over the world number one spot 13 months ago. Sörenstam will try to reclaim the top spot before walking away.

“This is a difficult decision to make because I love this game so much,” Sörenstam said.

Sörenstam will say goodbye in Dubai. Her farewell tournament will be the Ladies European Tour’s Dubai Ladies Masters, which begins on December 10th.

“There’s still plenty of golf to be played,” she said. “I have another seven months left, and my goal is to win tournaments. I still have the energy and excitement to finish the year on a strong note.”

Sörenstam, who joined the LPGA in 1994, will marry Mike McGee in January and wants to spend more time with her business dealings such as a golf academy and golf course architecture firm.

“I made this decision because I have a number of other priorities in my life, including starting a family, that I want to be as dedicated to as I have been to playing golf,” she said. “I have a lot of dreams.”

Sörenstam played only 13 events last year because of a disc injury in her neck, but the time away gave her a new appreciation for the sport and her success in it.

“The injuries made me appreciate what I achieved and made me appreciate the game and being out here,” Sörenstam said. “I wanted to come back because I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want an injury to take me away from this game.

“Now I feel at peace. It’s the right thing to do. Now I’m healthy and that’s the way I want it to be.”

On Sunday, Sörenstam won for the 27th time in the past 30 events which she has led entering the final round, doing so with three of her lowest four rounds of the past two years.

Eight-time LPGA Player of the Year and eight-time LPGA season money leader Sörenstam has won 10 major titles – three US Women’s Opens, three LPGA Championships, three Nabisco Championships and a Women’s British Open.

No LPGA player has won more of the current women’s golf majors and only Juli Inkster has equaled her in majors in the modern era.

Sörenstam, named to the World Golf Hall of Fame and LPGA Hall of Fame in 2003, stands third on the all-time LPGA win list behind record-holder Kathy Whitworth’s 88 titles and Mickey Wright’s 82.

GOLF

Sweden’s Noren storms to French Open title as fellow Swede Kinhult falters

Sweden's Alex Noren came back from a seven-shot overnight deficit to claim a dramatic French Open victory at Le Golf National on Sunday, as the difficult closing stretch of the Ryder Cup course saw a host of challengers slip up.

Sweden's Noren storms to French Open title as fellow Swede Kinhult falters
Swedish golfer Alex Noren holds the trophy after winning the HNA Open de France, as part of the European Tour 2018, on Sunday. Photo: LUCAS BARIOULET / AFP
Fellow Swede Marcus Kinhult had entered Sunday's play with a two-shot lead but struggled through a five-over final round to end in a three-way tie for fifth.
 
World number 16 Noren fired a brilliant four-under 67 to reach seven-under par for the tournament, before sitting back and watching his rivals falter as he won by a single stroke.
 
The 35-year-old will be a key figure for Europe when the Ryder Cup gets underway on September 28, and he showed all his qualities by playing the last three holes in two-under.
 
The big-name pairing of Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm both threatened, but the two Spaniards found water at the 18th, while world number two Justin Thomas never seriously contended.
 
Julian Suri, who was looking to become the first American winner of the event since Barry Jaeckel in 1972, went to the 72nd hole on eight-under but made a watery double-bogey, while England's Chris Wood also blew a late lead.
 
That handed Noren, who finished his fourth round 45 minutes before the final group, a 10th European Tour title and first since the BMW PGA Championship in May 2017, when he also fought back from seven shots behind on the final day.
 
Scotland's Russell Knox carded a final-round 65 earlier in the day to finish tied for second with Suri and Wood on six-under — enough to secure him a spot for the British Open at Carnoustie along with Kinhult and Suri.