Kung had a breakout year in 2003, winning three times, including back-to-back titles at the Wachovia LPGA Classic hosted by Betsy King and the State Farm Classic after becoming a Rolex First-Time Winner at the LPGA Takefuji Classic.
Kung's success in 2004 hasn't quite matched her high level of achievement from the previous year, when she finished the season sixth on the ADT Official Money list, but the 23-year-old Taiwan native is currently ranked 26th on the strength of five top-10 finishes. Kung posted her best finish this year at the U.S. Women's Open conducted by the USGA, where she tied for fifth.
Kung is joined by a talented field, including the second-ranked player and U.S. Women's Open conducted by the USGA champion Meg Mallon, who has won three times in the past seven weeks. Mallon trails number-one Annika Sorenstam by $387,879 on the ADT Official Money List and could make up significant ground with a strong showing this week.
LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Famers Beth Daniel, Juli Inkster, tournament host King and Hall of Famers-to-be Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb will showcase fierce competition in hopes of securing the $150,000 winner's share of the $1 million purse.
The strong 144-player field includes third-ranked Lorena Ochoa and fourth-ranked Grace Park, winner of the first major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Cristie Kerr, who has won twice this year, and Karen Stupples, Weetabix Women's British Open champion and another two-time winner in 2004, also highlight the very competitive field.
In 2003, the final-round lead jumped back and forth between Carin Koch, Kung, Mallon and Pak. Kung lost the early lead after suffering consecutive bogeys on the second and third holes to trail Mallon by one after three holes. Kung moved to 13-under-par with a birdie on 13, while Mallon birdied 11 to move to 12 under par, where she would stay until posting a bogey on the 17th hole.
Mallon almost chipped in for eagle on 18, leaving herself a six-inch putt for birdie to finish at 12 under par and in the runner-up position. Pak finished tied for second at 276 (-12), two strokes behind Kung.