Sorenstam Makes 06 Debut in Mexico

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HUIXQUILUCAN, Mexico -- After opening the season in Hawaii, the LPGA Tour travels south of the border this week for the MasterCard Classic Honoring Alejo Peralta, where Annika Sorenstam, the best golfer on the planet, will make her season debut. The Bosque Real Country Club serves as the site for the 54-hole, $1.2 million event, one of two LPGA tournaments contested in Mexico this season.
 
While Sorenstam is set to defend the first of 10 titles this season, she will have to contend with Mexican star Lorena Ochoa for the largest gallery. Ochoa, one of Mexico's favorite daughters, will receive the homecoming cheers, but will also have to contend with major-championship type pressure. She leads the field of 132 players who will battle for the top prize.
 
Ochoa, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, will look to better her fifth-place finish at last year's event. She is off to a terrific start this year, as she is one of only two players (Natalie Gulbis) to finish in the top five in both events contested so far. Ochoa tied for second at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay after losing in a sudden-death playoff and tied for fourth at the Fields Open in Hawaii. Ochoa recorded her third career victory last season at the Wegmans Rochester LPGA and finished fourth on the 2005 ADT Official Money List.
 
The spotlight may be on Sorenstam and Ochoa, but the tournament promises to be exciting as nine of the top 10 players, and 16 of the top 20, from last season's ADT Official Money List are set to compete in Mexico. Paula Creamer, who tied for sixth last season in only her second event as an LPGA member, will look to get her third career LPGA title in just her second season on Tour. Cristie Kerr and Hee-Won Han both tied for third at last year's tournament and are both a part of the 132-player field.
 
Fields Open in Hawaii champion Meena Lee, currently on top of the ADT Official Money List, will look to win her second straight tournament after winning a three-hole, sudden death playoff to close out February.
 
Also playing in the tournament are seven of the top amateurs from Mexico. Liliana Alvarez, Devan Andersen, Diana Cantu, Tanya Dergal, Marcela Leon, Alejandra Llaneza, Alejandra Martin del Campo and Sophie Sheridan will all participate. Marcela Leon, a professional, received the eighth sponsor's exemption in the MasterCard Classic Honoring Alejo Peralta.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - MasterCard Classic
  • Golf Channel Airtimes