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Sorenstam teeing it up at Pebble Beach Invitational

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.  – Annika Sorenstam will make a rare pro tournament appearance Thursday when she participates in the Pebble Beach Invitational.

The annual event held at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and Del Monte Golf Course, is the only head-to-head, 72-hole competition among the men and women who compete on the four major professional tours.

Sorenstam retired from the LPGA following the 2008 season, and she hasn’t won since the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open on the Asian Pro Tour on Nov. 2, 2008. Six months earlier, Sorenstam won the last of her 72 LPGA titles at the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill in Virginia.

Since her retirement, Sorenstam has played sporadically in invitational and charity tournaments. She finished tied for 12th on Oct. 12 in the Mission Hills Star Trophy in China.

Defending champion Mark Brooks, a seven-time PGA Tour winner, and about a dozen players among the top 125 on the tour’s money list are entered in the $300,000 tournament.

Ryan Palmer, who last week in Florida completed his most successful PGA Tour season with a 19th-place finish at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic, is the top player on the money list in the field. Palmer had five top-10 finishes, including his title at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January, and was 17th in earnings with $2,985,296.

Brooks, whose last PGA Tour win was the 1996 PGA Championship, birdied the final three holes last year en route to a 3-under 69 and a two-stroke win over D.A. Points and Rickie Fowler.

Brooks, who will be eligible for the Champions Tour next March, also won the event 1993 and 2002. He also finished second in 1990 to Juli Inkster, the only woman to win the tournament.

Matt Bettencourt, Bill Lunde, Derek Lamely and Cameron Beckman, who all won PGA Tour events this season, are also in the field.

In addition to Sorenstam and Inskter, seven players among this season’s top 30 on the LPGA money list are in the tournament. Morgan Pressel at No. 13 leads the field.

Tommy Armour III, who won the event in 2008 and 2009 while a member of the PGA Tour, is among eight Champions Tour entrants. Former U.S. Open winner Scott Simpson is also among the eight Champions Tour entrants.

Jamie Lovemark, the top money earner on this season’s Nationwide Tour, will be among 17 Nationwide Tour entrants.

The low 40 professional scores and ties will advance after the 54-hole cut for the final round Sunday at Pebble Beach.