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Pak Tied for 13th Against Men in Korea

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YONGIN, South Korea -- Overcoming short drives, unpredictable winds and disturbing photographers, Se Ri Pak fired an even-par 72 Thursday to tie for the 13th place after her first round against the men at the Korean tour's SBS Super Tournament.
 
``I had difficulty in choosing my clubs because of the wind. One moment it blew toward me, and, a second later, it was blowing from behind or from the side,'' the 26-year-old LPGA star told reporters in a twanging voice after the round in early autumn chill. ``I'm happy to have survived the day.''
 
``You get a shorter distance if it's windy and cold,'' said a rosy-cheeked Pak.
 
The four-time LPGA major champion drained three birdies, but bogeyed three holes at the 7,052-yard Lake Side Country Club in Yongin, south of Seoul.
 
``My goal was to hit even par. I always set my goal at even par before going into any game,'' the LPGA star said. Pak grabbed her first birdie on the 413-yard par-4 2nd hole, sinking a 10-foot putt.
 
But she bogeyed the next two holes, drawing long sighs from the dense gallery following her group including defending champion Yang Yong-eun and Shin Yong-jin, currenlty leading the money list on the Korean men's circuit.
 
Pak, who has 17 other wins on the LPGA Tour, rebounded on the 171-yard 6th hole, firing a 6-iron tee-shot within three feet of the pin. She birdied the hole to finished the front nine at even-par.
 
On the back nine, Pak drained a 10-foot birdie putt on the 407-yard par-4 13th but three-putted for bogey on the 587-yard par-5 15th. With 15 players unable to finish due to fading light, she shared the 13th spot at even-par 72, four strokes behind the leader, Chung Joon.
 
``There's something different with a world-class player,'' Shin said of Pak's game. ``I believe she will make the cut easily.''
 
Shin also shot even-par 72, but defending champion Yang carded a lackluster 7-over 79.
 
Pak needs to stay within a tie for 60th place among 126 players Friday to become the first female to go into the weekend rounds in the men's tour.
 
``My first goal is to make the cut,'' she said. ``That's still my primary goal.''
 
Pak, second to Annika Sorenstam on the LPGA money list, is the sixth woman to play against the men this year.
 
Sorenstam became the first woman in 58 years on the PGA Tour when she missed the cut at Colonial. Connecticut club pro Suzy Whaley, 13-year-old amateur Michelle Wie and veteran Laura Davies all failed to make the cut in their challenge against the men.
 
Jan Stephenson's start on the Champions Tour was in an event with no cut.
 
Pak also briefly complained to photographers for distracting her game.
 
``They were constantly moving back and forth,'' she said with a smile, explaining why she briefly stepped off the tee on the 6th hole. ``It would be nice if they were a bit more careful.''
 
Pak added that this week's game isn't the end of her challenge against the men.
 
``My goal is to play on the PGA Tour, but I'm glad that this great opportunity came along,'' she said. ``I enjoyed the game, and I learned a lot.''
 
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.