NEW ALBANY, Ohio (AP) -- The Wendy's Championship for Children will most likely return to its 72-hole format next year.
That's OK with Wendy Ward.
"This week I was pretty happy with 54," she said Sunday after setting LPGA Tour records for scoring while winning by three strokes.
Her 21-under 195 total was a record for a 54-hole tournament, both in relation to par and scoring total. The event was shortened to three rounds to give players extra time to return from last week's British Open.
The victory, worth $150,000, was Ward's third as a pro and ended a three-year drought. She closed with a 4-under-par 68 to hold off Annika Sorenstam and Moira Dunn.
"It's not that I ever doubted that I could win again, but when you have a dry spell in there you think, 'Are you pressing too hard? Are you not pressing enough?"' Ward said. "You start questioning yourself on a lot of things.
"Finally I just had to tell myself, 'When you get into contention, make the most of it, make the most of every opportunity.' That seemed to do the trick. It just happened to be my turn."
The 28-year-old Texan began the final round with a four-shot lead over Dunn after a 10-under 62 -- a course record and career best -- at New Albany Country Club.
As they went to the third tee, Ward's lead had already been cut in half.
In the group in front of Ward and Dunn, Sorenstam was applying pressure with a string of three birdies at the fifth, sixth and seventh holes.
She nearly holed her tee shot on the par-3 5th, the ball coming to rest just 2 feet from the cup. Then she two putted from 35 feet for birdie at the par-5 6th. At the 7th hole, she rolled in a 20-footer.
That spurt pulled Sorenstam into a tie with Dunn two shots behind Ward, who was turning things around with her own two-putt birdie at the 6th.
"She got her game going again," Sorenstam said.
Ward began to put some distance between herself and the pack with a 6-foot birdie at the 9th hole. She followed that with another 6-foot birdie at the 11th hole to get to 19 under, expanding the lead to three shots.
She said she never felt her lead was in jeopardy.
"Oh no. I was waiting for the one putt or the one shot to kind of springboard me to get the adrenaline going," Ward said.
She posted birdies at No. 15 and 16 after hitting her approach shots within 4 and 6 feet, respectively.
"When she birdied 15 I knew it was a little out of reach," Dunn said. "Until then, I thought anything could happen."
Sorenstam's threat all but ended when she three-putted at No. 13 -- missing a 2-foot putt for par. As she walked off the green, she fired the ball into a nearby creek.
"My only mistake was at 13," Sorenstam said. "I made a lot of putts this week. It's something I'd just like to forget.
Ward was nearly flawless, hitting 90 percent of greens in regulation, averaged 272 yards off the tee and totaling 22 birdies.
Sorenstam shot rounds of 67, 65 and 66, and Dunn closed with her second 67 to go with a 64 -- and still lost by three strokes.
"I would have taken 18-under par," Sorenstam said. "I would have taken it right away."
The previous 54-hole record of 19 under was set by Pat Bradley in the 1991 Rail Charity Classic and matched by Sorenstam last year at the Firstar LPGA Classic. Sorenstam established the lowest score for a 54-hole event with a 196 in the 1998 ShopRite.
As was the case the previous two rounds, the field stockpiled birdies. The scoring average for the third round was 69.973. Sixty of the 73 players shot par or better in the final round.
Rosie Jones closed with a 66 to finish at 201, while another former Ohio State golfer, Meg Mallon, shot a 67 to finish at 202.
"They want to move it back to 72, I'll go another day," Ward said. "But I was glad to see it end at 54."
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