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Sorenstam Reaching for Double-Digit Wins

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OTSU-SHI, SHIGA, Japan -- Annika Sorenstam is defending the last of her eight 2001 titles as she leads the 78-player field in the Mizuno Classic at the Seta Golf Course in Otsu-Shi, Shiga, Japan.
 
Sorenstam will team with 42 LPGA players, 35 players on the Ladies Professional Golfers Association of Japan and Hiromi Kobayashi, a sponsor exemption (and a member of both Tours). They will play the 54-hole, no-cut event for the $1,130,000 purse.
 
Players vying for the $169,500 winners share include 2002 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year, Beth Bauer, as well as eight 2002 LPGA tournament champions: Mi Hyun Kim, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, Janice Moodie, Se Ri Pak, Gloria Park, Grace Park, Rachel Teske and Sorenstam.
 
The LPGA portion of the field was determined by the LPGA money list following the Williams Championship on Sept. 8. This years Mizuno Classic, now in its 27th year as an official event on the LPGA Tour, also features past Mizuno Classic champions Maria Hjorth (1999), Lorie Kane (2000), Hiromi Kobayashi (1998), Liselotte Neumann (1991, 1997) and JLPGA member Woo-Soon Ko (1994-95).
 
Hjorth holds the tournament record at 201, 15-undr-par. As the last event for LPGA players to earn money to move into the top 30 and qualify for the ADT Championship, several players are on the bubble: Dorothy Delasin (30), Meunier-Lebouc (31), Vicki Goetze-Ackerman (32), Emilee Klein (33), Neumann (34), Jeong Jang (35), and LPGA rookies Natalie Gulbis (36) and Candie Kung (37). Delasin holds the 30th position by $509 over Meunier-Lebouc.
 
In 2001, Sorenstam won the Mizuno Classic with a 203 total, three shots ahead of Laura Davies. Sorenstam recorded rounds of 66-67-70 for her eighth win of the 2001 season and her first Mizuno Classic title.
 
With a win the week before at the CISCO World Ladies Match Play Championship, Sorenstam became the first LPGA player to win two titles in Japan in a single season.
 
In the final round, Davies made birdie on the second hole to put pressure on Sorenstam, who started the day with a two-shot lead. Sorenstam made her first birdie of the day on the par-3 fourth hole. On the next hole, Davies followed up with her second birdie of the day, but a Davies bogey on the sixth hole put Sorenstam up by two.
 
Sorenstams first bogey of the tournament came on her 43rd hole of play. On the par-4 seventh hole, Sorenstam pulled her 6-iron in a bunker; she two putted for the bogey. But the Swede bounced back with a birdie on the very next hole. Sorenstam bogeyed 15, but finished the event with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes to win by three shots over Davies, who carded a final-round 71.
 
Blowing winds were unable to derail Sorenstams game. She missed only four greens throughout her entire round. And, as it turned out, Sorenstam never relinquished the lead throughout the day despite the conditions. Marisa Baena and Ko tied for third, finishing eight-under-par for the tournament. JLPGA members Aki Takamura and Ji-Hee Lee finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Sophie Gustafson, Yu Ping Lin, Silvia Cavalleri and Kayo Yamada all tied for seventh to round out the top 10.
 
Statistical Preview for the Mizuno Classic