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Sports

Teske holds on at Giant Eagle

Paul Schofield
| Monday, June 16, 2003

VIENNA, Ohio -- Rachel Teske sank a 20-foot putt for birdie on the third playoff hole Sunday to win the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic at Squaw Creek Country Club.

Teske's putt ended a four-player sudden death playoff. It came moments after Annika Sorenstam and Lorie Kane missed long birdie putts.

The fourth player in the playoff, Jennifer Rosales, also missed a long birdie putt after Teske made hers.

It was the seventh LPGA victory for Teske, who earned a $150,000 check for her work. Sorenstam, Rosales and Kane tied for second and each earned $69,945.

Sorenstam had the best chance for a birdie on the first playoff hole, but she missed an 8-foot putt for birdie to the left.

Rosales, who had her best career finish, had an opportunity to end it on the next hole, but her 9-foot putt missed below the cup.

"All my wins are special," Teske said. "I was able to give myself an opportunity to win. You have to take advantage of your opportunities because there are not many shots at winning out here."

Teske, who began the final round tied for first place with Jean Bartholomew, needed birdies on the final two holes of regulation to make the playoff.

She just missed an eagle on No. 17 when her chip ended up a foot away, and she drained a 25-foot putt on No. 18 for birdie.

"I was so pumped up and so excited after I made that putt," Teske said. "My thought about the putt was to get a good pace on it, but I hit it way too hard. Fortunately, it went into the hole."

Teske said she's not in awe of Sorenstam. She respects what Sorenstam has done, but feels when she's playing good she can play with anyone on the tour.

"It's pretty neat when you can do what's needed to force a playoff," Teske said. "I needed to birdie the final two holes, and I did."

Rosales also birdied the final two holes to get into the playoffs. Paired with Sorenstam, Rosales stayed cool even after she had bogeys on two of her first three holes.

Even when Sorenstam went to 12-under after nine holes, Rosales continued to battle back with four birdies but could only muster pars the rest of the way.

The LPGA's No. 1 player admitted she was exhausted, saying the past month has worn her out.

Sorenstam played in The Colonial on the PGA Tour, and then posted consecutive victories at the Kellogg-Keebler Classic and the McDonald's LPGA Championship.

"It felt like I hit a wall on No. 11," Sorenstam said. "I'm shot and tired. I'm ready to go home."

Sorenstam said her knees were shaking and that she had a lot of chances coming down the stretch. She ate carrots, nutrition bars and bananas for energy, but nothing could help her putting.

"I asked my husband (David Esch) if he had a week off in that bag," Sorenstam joked. "He told me that was already in my pocket. I'm going to rest. I'm not going to pick up a club for 5 or 6 days."

Sorenstam had a birdie putt lip out on No. 14, and missed six-footers on Nos. 15 and 18.

Kane got into the playoff when she went out and fired a tournament-record 9-under 63. She would have won the tournament in regulation, but her birdie putt on No. 18 lipped out.

"I played the way I know how," said Kane, who finished her round an hour before the other three. "I've been playing well, and I knew this type of round was coming."

Kane said she never expected to be in a playoff.

"My next hole will be the 19th hole," she joked.

But after the playoff, Kane expressed both joy and disappointment.

"All you can do is give yourself chances, and today I did. I hit some key shots and made some putts, especially on the back nine," she said.

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