Pak Set to Defend First of Five Titles

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Ladies Professional Golf AssociationTARZANA, Calif. ' Se Ri Pak is set to defend the first of her five 2002 titles at this weeks The Office Depot Championship Hosted by Amy Alcott, April 4-6.
 
For the second consecutive year, the event is held at the El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., outside of Los Angeles. The 54-hole event, now in its seventh year, features a $1.5 million purse, up from $1 million in 2002.
 
After four events in 2003, Pak already has one Tour win under her belt thanks to a final-round rally at the Safeway PING Presented by Yoplait. The 25-yearold erased a three-shot deficit with a tournament- low 64 for a four-day total of 265 (-23). Her effort was good enough to hold off Grace Park by one stroke.
 
This time last year, however, Pak was winless on Tour. Her victory at The Office Depot Championship Hosted by Amy Alcott helped pave the way to four more titles in 2002. In a little more than five years on Tour, Pak has won an impressive 19 tournaments, including four majors.
 
Players featured in the full-field event, all vying for that lucrative first-place check, include LPGA Tour and World Golf Hall of Famer and tournament host Amy Alcott, 2003 winners Patricia Meunier-Lebouc and Pak, and 10 rookies ready to break through into the winners circle.
 
LPGA Tour veterans scheduled to compete include LPGA Tour Hall of Famers Beth Daniel, Juli Inkster and Betsy King, as well as Laura Davies, Laura Diaz, Maria Hjorth, Pat Hurst, Lorie Kane, Mi Hyun Kim, Emilee Klein and Annika Sorenstam.
 
Last year, Pak led the three-day event wire-to-wire, but was tested throughout. In the final group on Sunday, Pak took her three-shot advantage up against the worlds No. 1 female player, Sorenstam, and at the end of the day made it hold up. After an iffy start, she was deadlocked with Sorenstam through eight holes, but Sorenstams effort lost some steam coming down the home stretch with bogeys on eight, 12 and 16.
 
Pak led by three with two holes to play, and it looked as if she could cruise the few remaining holes to the title, but Sorenstam gave one last gasp with a birdie on the par-5 17th. Couple that with a Pak bogey, and the stage was set for a dramatic finishing hole. Sorenstam had a birdie attempt on the final hole, but her putt from the front of the green slipped just by the cup. Pak made par on the hole and claimed the championship by a shot.
 
Diaz finished the tournament at 213 (-3), which was good enough for third place. Jackie Gallagher-Smith, Kelli Kuehne and Wendy Doolan tied for fourth at 1-under-par 215.
 
Statistical Preview of the Office Depot Championship