Annika Set for First of Eight Title Defenses

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04 Safeway InternationalSUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN, Ariz. -- Fresh off of her first win of the season, Annika Sorenstam looks to defend her title at the Safeway International Presented by Coca-Cola (TGC - Thurs-Sun 8 p.m. ET), one of eight tournament wins from 2004. The Prospector Course at the picturesque Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club will host the $1.4 million event, the first 72-hole tournament of 2005.
 
A year ago, Sorenstam held the lead at the midway point and never looked back, claiming a four-shot win over Cristie Kerr. Sorenstam and Kerr also dueled two weeks ago at the MasterCard Classic honoring Alejo Peralta, with Kerr holding a three-shot lead entering the final round only to see Sorenstam birdie five of her first six holes and rally for the title.
 
The Safeway International Presented by Coca-Cola has been good to Sorenstam in the past, as she claimed the title in 2001 when she became the first woman to card a magical 13-under-par 59, which happened in the second round.
 
Meanwhile, Kerr is looking to avenge her tie for third at the MasterCard Classic honoring Alejo Peralta and move into the top spot on the ADT Official Money List. With her second-place finish at the season-opening SBS Open at Turtle Bay and her tie for third in Mexico, Kerr is only $18,000 behind Sorenstam.
 
Another player looking to make some noise is Australian Karrie Webb. The former number-one player in the world looks to be returning to top form after winning the Robe di Kappa Ladies European Tour's ANZ Ladies Masters three weeks ago and finishing second to Sorenstam at the MasterCard Classic honoring Alejo Peralta in her 2005 LPGA Tour debut. Webb is continuing her march toward induction into the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame. She needs a total of 10 starts in LPGA-sponsored events to meet the 10-year active membership requirement. This week marks her third start of the season.
 
Rookie Paula Creamer headlines a group of players in their last attempt to qualify for the first major championship of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, next week. Sitting in 10th place on the ADT Official Money List, Creamer needs to stay in the top 15 to qualify for the year's first major. With her tie for sixth at the MasterCard Classic honoring Alejo Peralta, Creamer picked up her first Solheim Cup points in her pursuit of a spot on the U.S. Team, as well as valuable points in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award race.
 
The tournament also features 15-year old amateur sensation Michelle Wie in her second LPGA Tour event of the season. Wie finished in second place at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay for her best finish in a LPGA Tour event. She tied for 19th at this event last year.
 
Related links:
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  • Full Coverage - Safeway International