But late this spring Goetze, a 5'5", 117-pound jackhammer in a golf visor, finally kicked her habit of trying to clean up after the other Dawgs. She concentrated on her own ball in the NCAA's opening round on May 27 and shot a 69, marking the first time she had broken 70 this year. Then last Friday night she had a vision. "I dreamed that I was having a hot round. I didn't dream the score, but there were a lot of birdies," she said. "It was kind of a weird premonition, but it was right on." Still, not even in her wildest dreams could Goetze have conjured up a 65.
On Saturday, Goetze foreshadowed the devastation to come by curling in a 30-foot birdie putt on the first green. As she marched to the 2nd tee, there was a spring in her signature duckfooted step that had been absent all year. "After Vicki rolled in the long birdie on the very first hole, I thought, Look out," said Oklahoma State's Stephanie Martin, one of Goetze's bird-watchers. "She got into such a fantastic groove on the front nine that I was really surprised whenever she missed a putt."
Goetze went on to drop a 20-footer for birdie on the 5th green, and then she cracked her tee shot on the par-37th to within gimme range. Meanwhile Sorenstam, playing several groups behind Goetze, hooked an approach shot to the 4th hole that caught the edge of the green but skittered off into a bordering pond, leading to a bogey. As Sorenstam exited that green, she crossed cart paths with Goetze leaving the 8th. Goetze had detoured to check out the leader's progress only to discover that Sorenstam was no longer the leader. "I was curious," said Goetze, the new pacesetter by a stroke.
News of Goetze's success spread as she had hoped it would, and Sorenstam was sweating. So Goetze turned up the flame on the 100� afternoon by shaving off two more strokes on the 9th and 10th holes. She added two more birds, on 13 and 17. For the day Goetze would miss only three greens, and she never once had a par putt outside the leather. "It was the best college round I've ever seen, under the most pressurized circumstances I can imagine," said Kelly. In fact, the only time Goetze got the yips was after the win, when she was asked if she would return to Georgia next season. Stay tuned.
If she leaves, Goetze will be able to renew her rivalry with Sorenstam, who plans to turn pro in September and play some LPGA events this fall—and perhaps become the hottest Swedish import since the Saab Turbo.
Back in Stockholm, Nilsson relishes the thought. "Whenever I go to the U.S., I always have coaches joking with me about this Swedish invasion," she says. "I don't mean to scare anybody, but I feel we're just getting started. There are lots more on the way."
Hang in there, Vicki—things aren't looking too bra for America.