The time is finally here, and the top stars on tour travel to Reunion Resort & Club of Orlando this week to compete for $2.5 million purse at the inaugural Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open, April 27-30.
Leading the star-studded field will be world No. 1 Annika Sorenstam. Sorenstam is hungry for her second win of the season after tying for second Sunday at Florida's Natural Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez. Sorenstam went into the final round with a one-shot lead, but shot an uncharacteristic 75 in the final round to finish runner-up. Sorenstam's win this season came in Mexico City as she successfully defended the MasterCard Classic honoring Alejo Peralta in March.
Ochoa, who currently leads the ADT Official Money List and the Rolex Player of the Year standings, will also compete in the 145-player field this week. Ochoa has been on fire to begin the year as she has recorded four top-four finishes in six starts, including a win at the LPGA Takefuji Classic in Las Vegas two weeks ago. Ochoa leads the Tour with her 69.35 scoring average and has recorded 9-of-20 rounds in the 60s, including an incredible 62 in the first round at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, which tied a major championship record. She also shot a 64 at the Fields Open in Hawaii and a 63 at the LPGA Takefuji Classic.
Karrie Webb also headlines the field, still glowing from her come-from-behind win at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA's first major of the season. Webb holed a 116-yard eagle shot from the 18th fairway and went on to beat Lorena Ochoa in a one-hole, sudden-death playoff to earn her 31st career victory and seventh major championship title. Inducted into the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame in November, the Kraft Nabisco Championship was the 31-year-old's first win since 2004. Webb's success continued in her first tournament back last week as she tied for second with Sorenstam and Cristie Kerr. She is currently one point behind Ochoa in the Rolex Player of the Year race.
LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster, who is currently second on the ADT Official Money List, will look to add to her two-point lead in the ADT Points race. Inkster has started her year hot with five top-eight finishes in six events, including her first win since 2003 at the Safeway International Presented by Coca-Cola last month. Since the win, she finished fifth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, fourth at the LPGA Takefuji Classic and tied for fifth at Florida's Natural Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez.
Coming off her win at last week's Florida's Natural Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez, Rolex First-Time Winner Sung Ah Yim will also compete at Reunion with fellow countrywomen and 2006 tournament winners Joo Mi Kim (SBS Open at Turtle Bay) and Meena Lee (Fields Open in Hawaii).
Although a star-studded field of LPGA members will be hitting the links this week, all eyes will be on 13-year-old Dakota Dowd. Dowd, whose mother Kelly Jo is battling cancer that returned after two years of remission, received a special LPGA exemption to play the Ginn Open.
LPGA Tour non-exempt member May Wood and amateur Andia Winslow will compete as sponsor exemptions. Winslow, the cousin of Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow, will be the first African-American to compete on the LPGA Tour in four years.