LPGA Tournament Features Champions
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MOBILE, Ala. (AP) _ Annika Sorenstam will try to add to her impressive season and Nancy Lopez will say goodbye at the LPGA Tournament of Champions.
The $750,000, 72-hole tournament starts Thursday on the Magnolia Grove’s Crossings Course with a field made up of LPGA tournament champions from 2000-02 and active LPGA Tour Hall of Fame members. The 34-player field includes the tour’s top 11 money-winners this season.
Lopez, a Hall of Famer with 48 career wins, is closing her final full season on the LPGA Tour. She has played in all eight previous Tournament of Champions, finishing in a tie for second in 1994 and tied for fourth in 1997.
Sorenstam has won nine of the 18 LPGA tournaments she has started in 2002. She won the Tournament of Champions in 1997 but has skipped it the past two years.
With five events remaining, she is still within reach of Mickey Wright’s record 13 wins in 1963. No player has won 10 LPGA tournaments since Kathy Whitworth in 1968, and Sorenstam’s next win will tie Babe Zaharias at No. 9 on the LPGA’s career list.
``Those are all numbers I have in my head,″ said Sorenstam, who’s earned more than $2.3 million this year. ``I didn’t really know what to do _ whether to save my energy _ but now I have a chance to break a record and I don’t want to let it go.
``I have a lot of motivation. There are still a lot of records I’d like to break so I’m motivated every day I get up.″
Se Ri Pak, second on the money list, took control of last year’s tournament in the third round with an 8-under 64, tying the event record set by Maria Hjorth in 1999 and Sherri Steinhauer in 2000.