Pak Kung Square Off Again

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Candie Kung and Se Ri Pak go at it again at the LPGA's State Farm Classic.
 
Kung shook off a rocky start in the final round of last weekend's Wachovia Classic and beat Pak, the defending champion, and Meg Mallon by two strokes. It was her second victory of the season.
 
Pak is second to Annika Sorenstam in earnings this year and has won three times in 2003. Kung says she's not concerned with trying to beat Pak for a second straight week.
 
'I really don't pay attention to who's in the field because there's just too much to worry about,' Kung said.
 
The last six State Farm championships have been won by first-time LPGA Tour winners, dating to Michelle McGann's win in 1996. Since the Classic began in 1976, 11 first-timers have won this event - the most of any tournament on the tour. Five of those winners are back this year, including three-time champ Betsy King.
 
'Every week is a strong field,' Pak said. 'Everybody comes for the win.'
 
This week's $1.2 million tournament also features six of this year's top 10 money winners, including Pak, No. 3 Grace Park and No. 5 Hee-Won Han. Sorenstam, the world's top female player, is skipping the event for the second straight year.
 
Defending champion Patricia Meunier-Lebouc is not playing either because of an illness related to her pregnancy, tournament officials said Wednesday. She scored a two-shot win over Pak and Mi-Hyun Kim last year and is ranked eighth on the money list this season.
 
The Rail Golf Course's layout - manageable rough, wide fairways and relatively few trees and hazards - usually means low scores. The winner of four of the last six Classics has shot 16 under or lower over the four rounds at the par-72 course.
 
'This golf course has so many great chances,' Pak said. 'You can make birdie every single hole.'
 
And that should ultimately make it a putting contest on the Rail's big, undulating greens, Kung said.
 
'If putts are going in, I'll be fine,' Kung said. 'It's just a matter of putting on this golf course.'
 
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