Most people know who I am through my sister, said Cristina Baena, a first-year player from Pereira, Colombia, whose older sister is the LPGA Tours Marisa Baena. I think its great and Ive never had a problem with it. Everybody loves Marisa.
Cristina, along with Naree Song, sister of the LPGAs Aree Song, and Dina Ammaccapane, sister of LPGA Tour multiple winner Danielle Ammaccapane, all will be in the field this week at the IOS Futures Golf Classic in El Paso, Texas, as well as at next weeks Isleta Casino & Resort Futures Gold Classic in Albuquerque, N.M.
Dina is a non-exempt member of the 2004 LPGA Tour and plans to play several Futures Tour tournaments this season. The younger Baena and Naree Song will play full-time on the Futures Tour in an effort to earn one of the five LPGA Tour cards awarded at the end of the season to the top five money winners. Both hope to join their sisters on the LPGA Tour.
I try to imagine how much fun it would be if we both were on the LPGA Tour, said Cristina. She thinks I can make it, and I have to give it a try to see how far I can go. Golf is her passion, but for me, I never want to say I didnt try it.
Several years ago, two other famous LPGA sisters ' Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam ' had a notoriously strained relationship. It wasnt until Charlotta won an LPGA tournament in 2000, that the two were able to resolve their differences. Was it competitiveness? Was it petty jealousy? Only the sisters know, but those who witnessed Annika running to hug her champion little sister knew the thaw had begun.
My sister and I were crying when Charlotta won that tournament, said Cristina. They finally realized that golf was just a little part of their lives.
Naree was totally energized by her sisters near-win at the LPGAs recent Kraft Nabisco Championship. Completing her own Futures Tour event in Tampa during the same Sunday, Naree rushed home to Orlando to see the telecast of her sisters eagle putt on the last hole. She was nervous and anxious during the event, and proud of her sisters finish when it was over.
But are the Song sisters, who have competed alongside each other for years, ever jockeyed for the upper hand? Has jealousy ever been a problem?
We just like to play competition when we practice, said Naree, 17, of Seoul, Korea. Its friendly. And we dont bet on anything ' just maybe who gets to drive home.
Marisa, 2 1/2 years older than Cristina, often gets swing lessons and shares what shes learned with her sister. When they were younger, they pushed each other. Now, with both as pros, they encourage each other in their respective levels.
I think we help each other now more than we ever have, said Cristina, 24, who lives in Phoenix and sees her Florida-based sister about once every three months. I depend on her and she depends on me. Im proud of her. Theres no reason to be jealous or envious of someone I love so much.