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Golden is golden in first LPGA tour win

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Kate Golden finally put it all together in a breakthrough LPGA Tour victory.

Golden roared past Annika Sorenstam to win her first tour title, shooting a 9-under-par 63 Sunday to overcome a six-stroke deficit in the State Farm Classic.

"It's like a tidal wave," Golden said. "I finally got my four rounds in a row. I usually drive the ball well, and I'm a pretty good putter. When my irons are on is when I really play well."

Golden's career-best 63 gave her a 21-under 267 total, four strokes better than the previous tournament record. She earned $150,000 to nearly triple her season earnings at $200,979.

"My knees started shaking on the 15th tee, and they haven't stopped yet," the 33-year-old former University of Texas star said after friends showered her with beer in celebration.

Sorenstam closed with a 70 to finish a stroke back. The Swede missed a 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have forced a playoff.

"To win her first event the way she won it, she played spectacular," Sorenstam said of Golden. "I don't think I gave it to her. I think she won it."

Golden birdied the final three holes of the front nine to make the turn at 5-under 31 and pull within two strokes of Sorenstam.

The Texan answered Sorenstam's birdie on No. 10 with some strong putting that started on the 183-yard, par-3 11th, where she dropped a sharp-breaking 30-footer that she called "the bomb."

"When that went in, the hair stood up on the back of my neck, and I said, 'Here we go,"' Golden said.

She followed with birdies on Nos. 12, 14 and 15, and just missed birdie putts on the 13 and 16.

Sorenstam, a six-time winner this year, fell two strokes back with a bogey on No. 16. She got a stroke back on the 335-yard 17th after nearly holing a sand wedge for eagle. Her birdie try to force a playoff on No. 18 finished inches to the right of the hole.

"It didn't go where I thought it would go," she said. "I just wasn't as solid, wasn't as sharp as I've been all week. ... If someone had told me, 'You're going to shoot 20 under for the week,' I would have taken it."

Moira Dunn, the only player to shoot four rounds in the 60s, had a 67 to finish four strokes back at 271. Emilee Klein (68) followed at 272.

Sorenstam earned $93,092 to increase her tour-leading total to $1,599,302, and also claimed $100,000 in unofficial money by winning the State Farm Series.