Pak, the winner of 21 LPGA titles, is defending her second of three wins from 2003 and will vie for the title to earn the lone point needed to join the other 22 Hall of Famers, five of whom are in the field: JoAnne Carner; Beth Daniel; Juli Inkster; host Nancy Lopez; and Annika Sorenstam.
Pak will face a harsh test this week, as the field is one of the toughest to date. All top 10 players from the 2004 ADT Official Money list and 28 of the top 30 will be competing for the $240,000 winners share of the $1.6 million purse.
The top three players ' Sorenstam, Grace Park and Cristie Kerr ' could prove to be the most challenging, as each are tournament winners thus far.
Sorenstam won the Safeway International presented by Coca-Cola and the Office Depot Championship Hosted by Amy Alcott; Park won the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the year, while Kerr won the most recent event, the LPGA Takefuji Classic.
Also in the field are five-time winner Mi-Hyun Kim and 17-year-old rookie sensation Aree Song, who will turn 18 on May 1. Karen Stupples, who won the Welchs/Frys Championship to kick off the season, is also competing.
Eleven of the 144 players in the field are previous winners of the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez: Dottie Pepper (1992); Val Skinner (1994); Laura Davies (1995); Barb Mucha (1996); Liselotte Neumann (1998); Rachel Teske (1999); Sophie Gustafson (2000); Sorenstam (2001) and Inkster (2001). Host Lopez also won the event in 1997.
In 2003, Pak defeated Shani Waugh in a four-hole playoff to deny Waugh her first LPGA title. The victory improved Paks playoff record to 4-0 and was one of three victories for the Korean in 2003. In her career, Pak has won the longest 18-hole playoff (20 holes) in LPGA history at the 1998 U.S. Womens Open as well as the largest playoff in LPGA history (six players) at the 1999 Jamie Farr Kroger Classic.
Pak and Waugh needed extra holes after Pak birdied the par-5 18th to post an 8-under-par 64 and the Australian Waugh followed with a birdie of her own for a final-round, 7-under-par 65. Knotted at 200 (-16), the two headed back to the 18th tee. Both players sank birdie putts on the first extra hole, sending them to the par-4 10th.
A pair of pars there put them back on the 18th tee for the third time that day. After her second shot struck the scoring tent short of the green, Pak hit a stellar chip onto the green and sank a 15-footer for birdie, and Waugh birdied as well to send it to the fourth extra hole. Waugh hooked her drive into the water hazard left of the fairway, then hit her third shot into the greenside bunker, leaving Pak with a chance to close the door. Paks approach shot sailed over the green and her chip shot left her 18 feet from the hole, while Waugh put her fourth shot to within 8 feet for bogey.
Pak closed the door on Waugh by drilling her 18-footer for par, earning the Korean the title and leaving Waugh in second place. It was Waughs career-best finish, besting her third-place finish at the 2002 U.S. Womens Open.