Sunday turned out to be a good day for Wildcat golf as Arizona alumni won on both the PGA and LPGA Tours. Both golfers achieved significant career milestones ?- Ted Purdy earning his first career PGA Tour victory and Annika Sorenstam notching her 60th LPGA Tour win ?- in the process.
Purdy, who was a two-time first-team All-American for the Wildcats from 1992-96 and still holds the school record for career competitive rounds played with 194, joined the PGA Tour’s winner’s circle with a flawless round of golf. He had a birdie putt on every hole, closed with a 5-under 65 and won the Byron Nelson Championship by one shot over Sean O’Hair at the TPC at Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas.
“It’s just euphoric,” Purdy said. “Under the circumstances, it’s the best round of golf I ever played. I guess on Sunday, to win a tournament, that’s how you do it.”
The 31-year-old had toiled for six years on the Asian Tour and was trying to recover from the heartache of two runner-up finishes last year on the PGA Tour.
“I won on the PGA,” said Purdy, who finished at 15-under 265. “That’s been my dream my whole life.”
Purdy built a three-shot lead with a two-putt birdie on the 16th hole, too much ground for O’Hair to make up. His 65 matched the lowest final round by a winner at the Byron Nelson Championship since it moved to Las Colinas in 1986.
On the women’s side, Annika Sorenstam turned the final round of the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship into nothing more than a victory lap.
Bouncing back from her first loss of the year with one of her most dominating performances, Sorenstam, who earned All-America honors for the Wildcats in 1991 and 1992, blew away the field by 10 strokes Sunday for career win No. 60.
She came into the day with a 10-shot lead. She finished that way with a bogey-free 67 at Eagle’s Landing Country Club south of Atlanta.
“Obviously I was very happy with the situation after three rounds. I’m teeing off with a 10-shot lead,” Sorenstam said. “But you don’t want to get too overly excited because you still have to play.”
No problem. No one got closer than nine shots the entire day.
Sorenstam finished with a 23-under 265, matching the biggest 72-hole win of her career.
When the final putt dropped ?- a three-footer for birdie at No. 18 ?- she pumped her fist, waved to the crowd and hugged her caddie.
“To finish the way I started and get win No. 60, it was a great Sunday,” Sorenstam said. “I felt like I did it with style.”
More important, the 34-year-old Swede tied Patty Berg for third place on the LPGA Tour’s career victory list and can now take aim at the only two players to win more ?- Kathy Whitworth (88) and Mickey Wright (82).
Purdy and Sorenstam led quite an Arizona charge as four other former Wildcats also posted top 20 finishes. All told, seven former Arizona golfers, including Rory Sabbatini and Jim Furyk on the PGA Tour and Lorena Ochoa, Leta Lindley, Natalie Gulbis and Jenna Daniels, combined to win better than $1.6 million on Sunday.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.