Davies Defends Her Title in Austin


Kathy Ireland has jumped ship, abandoning the now defunct Myrtle Beach event (Kathy Ireland Greens.com LPGA Classic), and has teamed up with this weeks event ' the Kathy Ireland Championship honoring Harvey Penick - which features a $900,000 purse with $135,000 going to the winner.
The event, now in its third year, takes place at Onion Creek Club in Austin, Texas. Late Masters champion Jimmy Demaret, along with well-known Texas amateur Jimmy Connolly founded the club, now steeped in history, in 1974. The club is a par-70 course over 6,300 yards in length and this weeks competitors will encounter two inch Bermudagrass rough and moderately fast greens.
Just one year ago, Laura Davies took home her 19th LPGA Tour victory and second win of the 2000 season after recording a four-day total of 5-under-par 275 to win by two strokes over Dottie Pepper.
The most amazing aspect of Davies' resurgence last season is that the 37-year-old had been winless for 15 months and a mere four days after undergoing Lasik eye surgery she ended her drought with a victory at the L.A. Womens Championship. Just a few months later the long ball hitter - averaging between 240-250 off the tee - was again the victor in Austin.
Davies isnt enjoying the same kind of success this season. Of her seven LGPA Tour starts this year, Davies - winner of 60 career victories - has missed the cut three times.
Her best 2001 finish to date came at the Subaru Memorial of Naples in January, where she finished in a tie for 5th.
Having missed the cut both times in the last two weeks, Davies will be under some pressure to defend her title. She started playing on the LPGA Tour in 1987 and in that time has accumulated 19 wins - including 4 majors - and one Player of the Year award. She is three points shy of qualifying for The Hall of Fame.
Check out the full field