Sorenstam Back in Jamie Farr Field


2006 Corning ClassicA lot of things have changed since Heather Bowie beat Gloria Park in a playoff last year to become a Rolex First-Time Winner at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger.
For example, Heather Bowie is now Heather Young, as she married Jeremy Young, her caddie, in February, and runner-up Park also changed her name and now competes as Gloria Hee Jung Park.
In addition to the name changes, four-time Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic champion Se Ri Pak re-emerged from injuries, self-proclaimed burnout and a tough 2005 season to once again became a major champion this year at the McDonald's LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola.
Annika Sorenstam, who this week will make her first appearance at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic since 2001, ended her 10-year battle with the U.S. Women's Open conducted by the USGA and won her first national title since going back-to-back in 1995-96.
Sorenstam has two wins on Tour this year and 68 for her career, but the last time fans at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic saw her was 40 wins and more than $12 million ago. It was before she became a one-name superstar, teed it up with the men at Colonial and became a member of the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame.
Now, every tournament Sorenstam enters, she is a favorite to win. Sorenstam has dominated her sport like no other. She has earned more than $19 million in her career and is the only player to earn more than $2 million in a season, something she has done the previous five years and is on pace to do again this year. Sorenstam has finished atop the ADT Official Money List eight times in her career, is an eight-time Rolex Player of the Year and a six-time Vare Trophy winner for lowest scoring average.
And now, for only the fifth time in her career, Sorenstam is in the field for the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. In 2001, Sorenstam finished tied for 47th, but has had success at the tight layout at Highland Meadows Golf Club. She won the event in 2000, after making birdie on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff to beat Rachel Hetherington. Sorenstam's other two appearances came in her first two years on Tour, as she missed the cut in 1994 and tied for 20th in 1995.
Pak is always a threat to win here. Last year, she finished in a disappointing tie for 36th, but in the previous seven years, she accumulated four wins, a tie for second, a solo third and a tie for seventh. A win this week would be her fifth at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, which would tie the LPGA record for most wins at the same event. Sorenstam has won both the Mizuno Classic and Samsung World Championship five times and Mickey Wright won the Sea Island Open five times.
This year, Young is looking to recoup some of the magic that propelled her to her first career victory. In 15 events this year, her best finish came at the Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open, where she tied for ninth.
Last year, she opened with a 1-over-par 72, but then carded a 66-69-67 to come from five strokes back and finish at 274 (-10) to force a playoff with Park. The duo traded scores on the first two holes and then Young won her first LPGA event on the third hole.
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