LPGA Finally Ready to Return to Action

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04 WelchIn case you may have forgotten, there is a tour that caters exclusively to women. A place where women are much more than an invited guest in Man Land.
 
Three-and-a-half months after they concluded their 2003 season, the LPGA Tour finally returns to action in this weeks $800,000 Welchs/Fry's Championship (TGC coverage beginning Thursday at 3:30 PM ET).
 
This is the first of 32 events in 2004 ' actually an increase, by one, of tournaments as compared to last year.
 
The Mizuno Classic has been dropped from this years schedule, and will be replaced by an event To Be Determined in early November. Also added is the Franklin American Mortgage Championship in May.
 
A few in the field have a little tournament competition under their belts already this season, as they played in a pair of Australian events.
 
Annika Sorenstam captured the ANZ Ladies Masters two weeks ago, while Laura Davies won last weeks AAMI Womens Australian Open.
 
Davies will make the trip to Tucson, Ariz., for the LPGA lid-lifter ' even though the Aussie Open didnt conclude until Monday due to inclement weather.
 
Others, including Karrie Webb, Charlotta Sorenstam, Paula Marti and Sophie Gustafson also had to wrap up play a day later than expected before making the extended journey.
 
Sorenstam, however, is absent. She said she expects to play in the minimum number of 15 events on tour this season in an effort to fully focus on winning major championships.
 
The Kraft Nabisco Championship is just three weeks into the season.
 
But for now, 144 others will focus on the tournament at hand.
 
This is the 25th playing of the tournament. It will be contested at the 6,170-yard, par-70 Dell Urich Golf Course.
 
Wendy Doolan is the defending champion, having beat Lorie Kane and Betsy King by three strokes a year ago.
 
Doolan finished at 21 under in earning her second career tour title, which was still two shots shy of the 72-hole tournament scoring record.
 
Sorenstam won in 2000 and 2001; the latter at 23-under-par 265.
 
She is the only player to successfully defend her title in this event.
 
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Welch's/Fry's Championship