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International flavor

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. – For the third consecutive year, international players will outnumber Americans at the U.S. Women’s Open. As of today, 22 countries will be represented at this week’s Open, held for the first time at Saucon Valley Country Club’s Old Course, site of the 1992 and 2000 U.S. Senior Opens.

Of the field of 156 players, less than half (73) are American, headed by 2007 U.S. Open champion Cristie Kerr and this year’s Kraft Nabisco winner, Brittany Lincicome. The country with the next most representation is South Korea, with 34. That’s remarkable considering just 11 years ago there was one lone Korean in the field, 20-year-old Se Ri Pak. Pak would go on to defeat Jenny Chuasiriporn in an epic 20-hole playoff.

At the time, Pak was the youngest U.S. Women’s Open champion ever at 20 years, nine months. That was until 19-year-old Korean Inbee Park won at Interlachen Country Club last year.

Foreign-born players have won 29 of the last 38 majors, including last month’s McDonald’s LPGA Championship, captured by Swedish rookie Anna Nordqvist. Sweden has six players in this week’s field, including Nordqvist, and Japan has seven.