Webb Defends at First Major of the Season


Who will win the Dinah? Its enough to cudgel ones brain.
This weeks event is no longer referred to as the Dinah - officially - but on tour, when talking about the first major of the season, you will invariably hear players refer to the event as such. It's their way of honoring the lady who gave so much to womens golf ' Dinah Shore.
Now back to the question at hand.
There are 87 touring pros and nine lucky amateurs teeing it up during the 2001 Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA. All of whom have high hopes of taking home this years title.
Not too long ago defending champion Karrie Webb would have been a safe bet for winning this week. Just look her record - Webb has won three of the last five LPGA majors. And although no one has ever captured back-to-back victories at The Nabisco Championship, Webb ' who now holds four back-to-back titles at the Australian Ladies Masters ' is a likely candidate when it comes to accomplishing this feat.
Now factor in the stellar performance of Annika Sorenstam over the past two weeks. Annika reached new highs when she recorded a new low 18-hole round of 59 during the second round of the Standard Register PING. Although fatigue was evident during her next two rounds, she still managed to muster up enough game to capture her second title of the season. She is now the proud owner of 25 career titles, including two majors.
It's been a while since Annika's last victory at a major. Her last major championship title was at the 1996 U.S. Womens Open, yet smart money is still on this player.
Se Ri Pak bears mentioning as well. Pak won the first event of the season - YourLife Vitamins LPGA Classic - and was runner-up twice in the last two weeks.
Sorenstam, Pak and last years Nabisco Championship runner-up Dottie Pepper are all playing superbly this season and are all capable of making a serious run for the title.
Professionals aside, the amateur contingency in the field will be doing their best to complicate the efforts of all the aforementioned veterans.
Amateur competitors Lisa Ferrero, Leigh Anne Hardin, Lorena Ochoa and, of course, Aree and Naree Song Wongluekiet will be testing their skills at the professional level this week.
Who are these amateurs?
Ferrero is a senior at Lodi High School in California. Hardin is a feshman at Duke University and Ochoa is a virtual star in the golfing community of Arizona where she is a University of Arizona freshman. Ochoa, a native of Guatemala, Mexico, is also the top-rated collegiate golfer in the country.
It will be interesting to see how Lorena Ochoa does this week. She received a sponsor exemption at the Welchs Circle K Championship in Tucson two weeks ago and managed to finish tied for seventh place.
The Wongluekiet twins are making their second appearance at the Nabisco Championship. Last year, at the ripe 'ole age of 14, Aree finished tied for tenth, while Naree missed the cut.
One final interesting aspect of this major ' there are three 'sister acts' playing in the field: Danielle and Dina Ammaccapane, Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam and Aree and Naree Song Wongluekiet.
In the end the conundrum remains: who will win 'the Dinah'?