Sorenstam Seeking Second Repeat

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GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. ' For most players, title defenses come few and far between, but for Annika Sorenstam, it has become almost a weekly occurrence.
 
Thats the story for the 45-time champion this week, as she headlines a strong LPGA field traveling to the Marriott Seaview Resorts Bay Course looking to successfully defend one of her 11 titles from 2002.
 
She is 1-for-3 in title defenses so far this season, winning the Kellogg-Keebler Classic earlier this month.
 
The Swede will have her work cut out for her this week, as she faces four other 2003 tournament champions, six other past ShopRite LPGA Classic champions and 13-year-old amateur sensation Michelle Wie, who is playing via a sponsors exemption and is fresh off a win at the U.S. Womens Public Links Championship.
 
Joining Sorenstam in the three-day event are 2003 champions Wendy Doolan, Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc. Past ShopRite LPGA Classic champions that will be battling Sorenstam include Chris Johnson (1990), Betsy King (1987, 1995, 2001), Michelle McGann (1997), Janice Moodie (2000), Anne-Marie Palli (1992) and Inkster (1986, 1988).
 
Sorenstam also won the event in 1998.
 
Wie is playing in her third LPGA event of the year. She tied for ninth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and tied for 33rd at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez. She claimed her first national title last week by becoming the youngest winner of the U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links Championship and recently qualified for the U.S. Womens Open.
 
Wie will also play in the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic Presented by ALLTEL, the Safeway Classic and the Sports Today CJ Nine Bridges Classic later this season. She will be looking to make her third consecutive LPGA cut and add to her growing list of LPGA records.
 
Other LPGA Tour stars teeing it up in the $1.2 million event include Laura Davies, Laura Diaz, Natalie Gulbis, Cristie Kerr and 2003 European Solheim Cup Captain Catrin Nilsmark. Ten LPGA rookies, including sponsor exemption Paula Marti, will also be looking to cut into Lorena Ochoas points lead in the race for the 2003 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award, as Ochoa is taking the week off after finishing second at last weeks Wegmans Rochester LPGA.
 
Last year, Kate Golden fired a 7-under-par 64 to grab a one-stroke lead over Lorie Kane and Inkster after the first round. A second-round 67 gave Inkster sole possession of a one-stroke lead at 132 (-10) over Golden after 36 holes. Sorenstam, who was three behind Inkster to start the final round, made her move on Sunday, firing a 5-under-par 66 to claim the title at 201 (-12) by three strokes over Carin Koch, Golden and Inkster, who faltered with a 1-over-par 72 in the final round.
 
For Sorenstam, it was her sixth win of the 2002 season and the 36th of her career. She joined Inkster and King as just the third multiple winner in ShopRite LPGA Classic history.
 
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