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Third Win for Webb Would Be Charming

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Defending champion Karrie Webb will have to reach deep within herself in order to successfully defend her title this week. For nestled in a historically strong field is Swedens female golfing icon - Annika Sorenstam.
 
Sorenstam is the sure bet going into the U.S. Womens Open, being played for the first time at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., July 4-7.
 
Everything is all going my way, the very confident Sorenstam said after her win at the ShopRite Classic Sunday.
 
The Swede is the obvious spoilsport to Webbs dream of winning three consecutive USGA championships.
 
Confidence is something that Webb, No. 6 on the money list, currently struggles with as she battles the residuals of a swing change that has left her with a left-to-right fade.
 
Efforts to get the club in front of her have, thus far, left her behind this season. Yet Webb has a good Open track record on her side. In her six appearances, she has never missed a cut, has recorded two top-10 finishes (fourth in 1997 and seventh in 1999) and has two victories to her credit.

Sorenstams 2001 season performance (she set or tied 30 records) was a tough act to follow, and yet somehow the soft-spoken Swede has not disappointed. Armed with Kai Fusser, her latest and greatest personal trainer, and 'Vision 54' (18 birdies in a single round), Sorenstam has stormed through the first half of the year recording five victories and 10 top-five finishes in 11 starts. Sunday, she recorded a bogey-free final round 5-under-par 66, resulting in a three-stroke victory at the ShopRite LPGA Classic ' her second victory in as many starts.
 
Her recent success is no accident. It is, in fact, part of a well-oiled plan - the culmination of fierce determination and relentless focus. I definitely feel that I am hitting better this year and what I mean by that is that I am more solid, and especially with my long irons, the No. 1 player in the world said. My drives, according to the stats, are 10 to 12 yards longer and the accuracy is good and I am up there in greens in regulations and I am also putting better. My scoring average is lower and I am better than last year so far this year.
 
Sorenstam has been working with Fusser for a mere seven months and is already seeing progress - although she thinks it will be more like a year-and-a-half until the full benefits of her new regime come to fruition.
 
Ive won a lot, and I love to win. I think with the more Ive won, I realize how much winning means to me. It never gets old. Actually, it makes me want more of it ' its an addictive feeling,' she said.
 
'I know there are more records I can break and I want to see how good I can be and I feel like all my hard work that Ive put in, Im now seeing the results and I know I have not reached my peak yet so Im going to push and push, and see how far I can go.'
 
The USGA will do its best to create perfect conditions for this years U.S. Womens Open. The worlds top 150 female players, professionals and amateurs alike, will face green speeds of 10 on the Stimpmeter, rough projected to be 3 inches deep and native tall grasses - all of which have the potential to wreak havoc with their games as they play the 6,293-yard, par-70 course. In addition, if wind at Prairie Dunes C.C. comes into play, errant shots will be severely penalized.
 
Prairie Dunes C.C. has an interesting history. The 18-hole course was built in two stages over a period of 20 years. Perry Maxwell designed the front nine which opened in 1937 and his son Press Maxwell designed the back nine, which opened in 1957.
 
Chip Shots:
 
There are two ways to tell the Wongluekiet twins apart this week. Naree has had her braces removed and will be watching golf from outside the ropes while Aree, still sporting her metallic smile, has qualified to play.
 
After finishing second at the ShopRite Classic Sunday, Julie Inkster made arrangements to spend Monday with her swing coach Mike McGetrick. Inkster, who won the 1999 Open at Old Waverly G.C., also won the first of three consecutive U.S. Women's Amateur titles at Prairie Dunes in 1980.
 
Amateur Stacy Prammanasudh of Tulsa, Okla., has Annika Sorenstam to thank for making it into the field. Prammanasudh qualified after Sorenstam won the ShopRite title.
 
Full Field for the U.S. Women's Open
 
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