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Excitement Runs High at ANZ Ladies Masters

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The Evian Ladies European Tour is poised for the season-opening ANZ Ladies Masters at the Royal Pines resort nestled in the Gold Coast of Australia.
 
Play kicks off Thursday and this is going to be an exciting event to watch. For anyone who doesnt know, Gold Coast is just South of Ayr ' home of Karrie Webb. Over the past four years Webb, currently ranked No. 2 in the world, has dominated the Ladies Masters. This week she looks to successfully defend the title for the fifth consecutive year.
 
The LPGA Tours season has yet to start but already expectations run high for the potential battle between Webb and Annika Sorenstam. Webb wrapped up 2001 with a two-stroke victory over Sorenstam at the LPGA Tours season-ending Championship in November. Now, two and a half months later, predictions run high on what the Aussie has in store in her efforts to regain the No. 1 status Swedish golfing rival Sorenstam deprived her of.
 
Sorenstam isnt shy about sharing her expectations for the coming season. Her sights are set on achieving the ever-elusive 54. I have been thinking about last year and its finally sunk in what I have achieved, Sorenstam said of her record-setting 59. Ive had a chance to set up some new goals and I am excited to get going. Im shooting for a better year, I want to be a better player and thats what I am focusing on. I believe you can hit 18 fairways, 18 greens and make every putt, so there is room for improvement there already.
 
Sorenstam, the 1995 Ladies Masters Champion, made her last appearance at the Ladies Masters in 1998 ' finishing second to Webb. But with the LPGA Tours season starting so late this year, Sorenstam, like many others, were looking to get back into competition.
 
The Australians are in for a great show. Karrie Webb, spurred on by Sorenstams success, finished the year with a bang. In turn, Sorenstam has recommitted herself to her workout routine and raised the bar on her expectations in golf.
 
I really picked up my workout routine again. Last year early in the season, I did a lot of it and I got such a good start; then I continued through the whole season, but it was difficult being on the road so therefore mid-November I started again and, having three months off, I have had a lot of time to work out.
 
Sophie Gustafson, Laura Davies, Paula Marti and last years runner-up Rachel Teske are just some of the competitors who hope to navigate their way through the 6,396 yard, par-72 East Course at Royal Pines for a piece of the $375,000 purse. Winner will take home $56,250.