Stiff Test for Teske


SYLVANIA, Ohio - Australia's Rachel Teske is looking to do something at this week's Jamie Farr Kroger Classic Presented by ALLTEL she has never done before - reach the three-win plateau for a single season.
Including 2003, the Aussie has won two events in a season three times (1999, 2002), and she will be aiming for her third title as she defends one of her two wins from a year ago. Teske won last year's event by two strokes over eventual Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Beth Bauer.
A standout field that includes seven tournament champions from 2003, as well as six past Jamie Farr Kroger Classic Presented by ALLTEL champions, lays in wait of Teske, who won back-to-back events in June. Joining Teske in the $1 million event are 2003 champions Beth Daniel, Hee-Won Han, Candie Kung and Hilary Lunke.
In addition to Teske, five other past Jamie Farr Kroger Classic champions are competing in the 72-hole event: Jane Geddes (1987); Penny Hammel (1985, 1989); Kathryn Marshall (1995); Se Ri Pak (1998-99, 2001); and Kelly Robbins (1994, 1997). Of those, Teske will have to keep her eye on three-time Jamie Farr Kroger Classic winner Pak, who has recorded five-straight top-10 finishes at Highland Meadows Golf Club.
Thirteen-year-old phenom Michelle Wie is playing via a sponsor's exemption and will be looking to make her fifth-straight LPGA cut. The Jamie Farr Kroger Classic Presented by ALLTEL is the fifth of seven LPGA tournaments the teenager will play in this season. Other LPGA stars competing in the event include Laura Diaz, Natalie Gulbis, Cristie Kerr, Mi-Hyun Kim, Dottie Pepper and Jan Stephenson.
Last year, Teske took a one-shot lead over Jeanne-Marie Busuttil and Dorothy Delasin after a first-round 67 (-4). Diaz posted a second-round 64 (-7) to grab a two-stroke lead over Beth Bauer, Kris Tschetter and Busuttil after 36 holes with a 134 (-7) total.
Karrie Webb and Bauer shared a one-shot lead over Teske at 203 (-10) after the third round. Teske put herself into position for the final round thanks to a career-low-tying 64 (-7) in the third round.
In the final round, Teske carded back-to-back birdies on holes 11 and 12 and then again on holes 15 and 16 to post a 66 (-5) and take the title from Bauer and Webb. Bauer finished with a 2-under-par 69, but it was not enough to catch Teske. Webb dropped into a tie for third place with Diaz after a final-round 70 (-1).
The win was Teske's sixth career LPGA title and second of the 2002 season.
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