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US Women’s Open Has Record Purse

April 23, 2002

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ The U.S. Women’s Open Championship in July will have a record purse of $3 million.

An additional $100,000 was added to last year’s purse, U.S. Golf Association official Cora Jane Blanchard announced Monday. The winner will receive $535,000.

``It’s a milestone in women’s golf,″ said Betse Hamilton, the USGA’s women’s championship director. ``It’s by far the largest payoff on the LPGA Tour. Sometimes people look at prize money. We want to show that women’s golf has importance.″

Meanwhile, Australian Karrie Webb, who hopes to make golf history by becoming the first woman to win three Opens in a row, said she knew what she had to do leading up to the July 4-7 tournament when she saw the course from her airplane as she came into Hutchinson.

``We flew over the golf course and I already knew with the lack of trees that the rough would be high and that the wind would blow,″ Webb said. ``Without looking at the course, I know what I’m working on the next 10 weeks.″

Webb is the sixth two-time defending U.S. Women’s Open champion, but no one has captured three straight.

``I’ll try not to let the ‘three-peat’ overwhelm me too much,″ Webb said. ``I’ll focus on trying to win it like I’ve never won it before. Doing well doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to win every year. Giving myself a chance to win it is what my goal is at the start of the week.″

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