Pak Defends Final Stop of Lopez Farewell Tour


MOBILE, Ala. - This year's Mobile LPGA Tournament of Champions presented by Ultimate Software marks the end of an era. This week's event is the final stop for LPGA Tour Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez, who is making the 2002 season her final full season on the LPGA Tour. Joining the 48-time champion at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Magnolia Grove is defending champion Se Ri Pak, who is looking for her fourth win of the season.
The 72-hole, $750,000 event, Oct. 10-13, is limited to LPGA tournament champions from 2000-02 and active LPGA Tour Hall of Fame members not otherwise qualified. This week's field consists of 34 players and includes nine-time 2002 champion Annika Sorenstam and two-time champions Laura Diaz, Juli Inkster, Rachel Teske, Mi Hyun Kim and Karrie Webb.
Lopez has played in all eight previous Mobile LPGA Tournament of Champions presented by Ultimate Software events and will culminate her illustrious 25-year career at this week's tournament. Her best finish was a tie for second in the inaugural event in 1994, and she finished tied for fourth in the 1997 event.
In addition to Lopez and Inkster, LPGA Tour Hall of Famers Amy Alcott, JoAnne Carner, Beth Daniel and Betsy King are competing in the event. Other LPGA Tour stars making the trip to Mobile include Laura Davies, Pat Hurst, Rosie Jones, Lorie Kane, Meg Mallon and Grace Park.
Sorenstam, who won the limited-field event in 1997, is making her first appearance at Magnolia Grove, which has been the tournament's host site since 1999. Webb, who won the tournament in 2000, is the other past Mobile LPGA Tournament of Champions presented by Ultimate Software champion in this week's field.
Last year, Kim took a two-stroke, first-round lead over Dottie Pepper after carding a seven-under-par 65. A one-under-par 71 in the second round gave Kim a 136 (-8) two-day total and a one-stroke lead over Pak heading into weekend action.
In the third round, Kim faltered with a six-over-par 78, while Pak took control with an eight-under-par 64 for a 201 (-15) total, seven shots ahead of Kane. Her 64 tied the tournament record set by Maria Hjorth in 1999 and Sherri Steinhauer in 2000.
In the final round, Pak closed out her victory with a one-under-par 71, finishing with a 272 (-16) total, five strokes ahead of Kane. Kane posted a final-round, three-under-par 69 to finish in the runner-up spot. Park finished third at 279 (-9), while Emilee Klein was fourth at 280 (-8).