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Birdie denies Estill a shot at playoff

Michelle Estill gave herself a chance at a playoff Sunday during the final round of the Mercury Titleholders Championship.

The only contender to shoot in the 60s at LPGA International, she hit a 7-wood shot to 20 feet at the 18th hole for an eagle that would have tied Danielle Ammaccapane.

She left her putt short, however, and settled for a birdie and second place, one stroke back.

"I came into today without any big expectations," said Estill, 35, who has one LPGA Tour victory.

She began the final round three strokes back of the leaders and earned $93,093.

"I had a lot of fun," Estill said. "I never looked at the scoreboard or worried about it until the end. It was fun."

BOGEYS HAUNT SORENSTAM: Annika Sorenstam, a two-time LPGA Player of the Year who won six times in 1997, expected to break through for her first victory of the year.

But she had an uncharacteristically poor day, making two bogeys on the front nine and then bogeys at the 14th and 15th holes that all but knocked her out of contention.

Sorenstam's 73 was her highest final round of the year, but she still notched her seventh straight top-10 finish.

"Of course I wanted to win," she said. "But I'm closer and closer, it seems like, every tournament. I just have to hang in there. I felt great on the driving range, hit the ball great. It was a hard day, though. I got anxious. Maybe I wanted it too much."

SISTER, SISTER: A Sorenstam made an early move Sunday, but it wasn't Annika. It was her sister, Charlotta Sorenstam, who began the day six shots out of the lead but moved closer with birdies on three of her first 10 holes. The momentum ended, however, and she settled for 71 to finish at 282, 6 under par, in 11th place. Charlotta Sorenstam, 24, is in her second season on the LPGA Tour. She has two top-10 finishes this year, and her best is a tie for fourth last year.

CHIP SHOTS: Tampa's Dawn Coe-Jones, who led through two rounds, shot 72 and tied for sixth to earn $27,173. The LPGA Tour heads to Nashville, Tenn., this week for the Sara Lee Classic before playing the year's second major championship, the McDonald's LPGA Championship, in two weeks in Wilmington, Del.

_ BOB HARIG

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