This three-day event played on the Tom Fazio designed Eagle's Landing Country Club in Stockbridge, Georgia boasts a $1.2 million purse with $180,000 going to the winner.
With American Rosie Jones safely in the winners circle as of last week's event, the focus will no longer be on the winless Americans. 'It was fun to be the American to have won last week and I'm glad I won,' Jones said in Stockbridge. 'I mean in the beginning, it wasn't really LPGA players saying, 'God, we've got to get an American player in there.' The media was saying it, so it was kind of strange.'
This week there is more likely to be attention focused on Dottie Pepper, Meg Mallon and Lorie Kane. All but Kane - who captured the Takefuji Classic in February - are winless this season yet it seems just a matter of time until the others break through.
Will this be the week for any one of them? Kane, Mallon and Pepper have all played well at Eagles Landing in the past. Kane finished tied for 4th last year while Pepper, who won the event in 1992, and Mallon finished in a tie for 7th place.
Annika Sorenstam jumps back into competition after a week off. Sorenstam will have to wait a little longer to face off with her fiercest contender, Karrie Webb. Webb is on the other side of the world this week defending her Japan Open title.
Young, shy and winless on the LPGA Tour.
Thats how Swedens Sophie Gustafson came into last years event.
Three days later, after posting scores of 65-69-72 206, Gustafsons Midas touch earned her a professional win on the LPGA Tour and a shiny new Rolex watch ' courtesy of the Rolex First-Time Winner program.
Although Gustafson lead the tournament wire-to-wire, her first win was not by a landslide. Kelly Robbins and Amy Fruhwirth, who in the end trailed by just one stroke, made sure she earned her first title the good old-fashioned way. By grinding it out.
Last year's Chick-fil-A proved to be a big breakthrough for Gustafson. She went on to win the Weetabix Womens British Open (now a major on the LPGA Tour) and celebrated her highest earning season with $544,390 in prize money to finish 13th on the money list.
It was indeed a banner year for Gustafson, who later in the season was a member of the victorious European team during the 2000 Solheim Cup, earning 2 points in her own right as well as being voted LET Player of the Year for the second time (1998 & 2000).
The Chick-fil-A Charity Championship (a mouth-watering event) gets underway on Friday.
THE PAIRINGS WATCH:
If you are going to be in Stockbridge, GA this weekend, check out the following groups.
Helen Alfredsson, Kelli Kuehne, Betsy King - Tee off of No.1 at 8:50AM Friday.
Michelle McGann, Lorie Kane and Juli Inkster - Tee off of No.1 at 9:10AM Friday.
Rachel (Hetherington) Teske, Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam - Tee off No.10 at 12 noon Friday.
Alicia Dibos, Leigh Ann Mills and amateur Aree Wongluekiet - Tee off No. 10 at 1:50PM Friday.
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