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Kean Defends at The Rail

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With only eight events left until the Tour Championship, the State Farm Classic in its 26th year has attracted a stellar field including the number one player in womens golf - Annika Sorenstam.
 
Held for the 26th time at the Rail Golf Club in Springfield, Ill, the State Farm Classic is a full field event featuring 144 competitors who will tee it up Thursday in quest of their share of the $1,000,000 purse.
 
Defending champion Laurel Kean came into the week fighting last year.
 
Kean won a sudden-death playoff in the Monday qualifier to earn the final spot in the field then proceeded to record three consecutive rounds of 66 to walk away with the lions share of the purse. Her win made Kean, a former FUTURES Tour player, the first Monday qualifier in LPGA History to win an LPGA event.
 
The Rail Golf Course is rich in history. In 1969 Robert Trent Jones took an old dairy farm and designed the Rail Golf Course. The name itself came from the split rail fence that surrounded the dairy farm in the days when Abe Lincoln would stay there.
 
Jones created a course with large elevated undulating greens and open flat fairways and covered it primarily with Bentgrass - although the fairways are comprised of blue and Ryegrass.
 
Competitors this week will have to work hard to avoid the 80 bunkers and five water hazards Jones worked into his design.
 
No. 16, the Rails signature hole, is a tough little 165-yard, par 3 requiring deft execution off the tee to avoid the water hazard which runs along the entire right hand side of the green. The green itself is double-tiered with bunkers flanking all sides. This little par-3 could potentially be the site of some big scores.
 
Mi Hyun Kim will be one to watch. She won this event in 1999 at 204 (-12) and came in tied for second with Dina Ammaccapane after finishing with the same score of 12-under-par.
 
Of Kims 25 starts this season, she has recorded 12 top-10 finishes and earned over $700,272.00. The South Korea native finished in sole possession of 5th place at 12-under-par.
 
The State Farm Rail Classic, a former three-day event, begins on Thursday with the fourth and final round wrapping up Sunday.