LPGA Gets Major Season Underway


2007 Kraft Nabisco ChampionshipRANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- She won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship at the age of 18 years, 10 months and 9 days'the youngest in Tour history to win a major championship. This week, Morgan Pressel returns to the Mission Hills Country Club one year older, but still the youngest to ever defend an LPGA major championship.
Pressel is among more than 100 of the world's top female professional golfers competing for the $2 million purse and automatic entry into the season-ending $1 million ADT Championship as a Winner Event in LPGA Playoffs 2008. Last year, Pressel was bogey-free on her final 24 holes and was able to card a 3-under-par 69 in the final round to come from four strokes back to claim the $300,000 paycheck. Her one-stroke margin of victory over the trio of Brittany Lincicome, Catriona Matthew and Suzann Pettersen made the traditional champion's jump into Poppy's Pond all the more sweet.
But, in its 26 years as a major on Tour, the Kraft Nabisco Championship has only seen one player win in consecutive years'Annika Sorenstam, 2002-03. Including Pressel, the event has boasted 16 different winners. When it comes to the strength of the field, the numbers speak for themselves: nine past champions; five LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Famers; and the top-30 from both the 2007 and 2008 LPGA Official Money Lists. Last season also proved to be the first major championship victory for all four winners, who are also competing this week: Pressel; Pettersen, McDonald's LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola; 10-time Tour winner Cristie Kerr, U.S. Women's Open; and Rolex Rankings' number one Lorena Ochoa, RICOH Women's British Open.
Adding to the excitement will be three players to follow who are on the cusp of completing the career grand slam. Laura Davies, Meg Mallon and 2007 LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame inductee Se Ri Pak all need to win this week to become just the seventh player in the Tour's 59-year history to win the four designated majors in their career. The trio owns a combined 62 Tour victories, including 13 major championships.
The 2008 Kraft Nabisco Championship also attracted five of the top-eight ranked amateurs, according to the 2008 Golfweek/Titleist Women's Amateur Rankings, as of Feb. 28, 2008: Amanda Blumenhurst, second; Mallory Blackwelder, fourth; Alison Walshe, fifth; Mina Harigae, sixth; and Maria Uribe, eighth. The 2006 U.S. Women's Amateur Champion Kimberly Kim rounds out the group and holds stake to the 20th rank on the Golfweek/Titleist list. Kim competed in the 2007 event, but did not make the cut.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Kraft Nabisco Championship