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Sorenstam to Donate Colonial Earnings to Charity

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- With the frenzy sparked by Annika Sorenstams decision to play in a PGA Tour event next month, there is little doubt that the LPGA and Sorenstam herself have benefited from the unprecedented exposure and attention. Now add another beneficiary, the charities of the LPGA Corning Classic in Corning, N.Y. By playing the PGA Tours Bank of America Colonial, May 22-25, Sorenstam will be unable to compete in the LPGA Corning Classic. However, as the first woman to play ina PGA Tour event since 1945, she has pledged to donate half of whatever she earns that week to the LPGA Corning Classic charities.

Annika SorenstamThe people of Corning have been very supportive of my decision to play the Bank of America Colonial, said Sorenstam. The tournament directors [Jack Benjamin] stance was, whatever is good for the LPGA'which I believe this decision has been'is good for the LPGA Corning Classic. I really appreciate their support, and I have decided to donate half of what Iearn at the Colonial to the LPGA Corning Classic and its charities. I wish them well in their 25th anniversary event.

The LPGA Corning Classic benefits 11 area hospitals, Rotary Camp Star for disabled children and Lions Club sight preservation programs. Since the first event in 1979, the tournament has donated more than $3.6 million to charity. The LPGA Corning Classic is one of the LPGAs longest-running events. For non-major championships, only the Safeway Classic (1972), Mizuno Classic (1973), State Farm Classic (1976) and Wegmans Rochester LPGA (1977) are older. The LPGA Corning Classic, however, has the distinction of being the only event of those five with the same title sponsor and tournament name since its inception.

The charitable donation from Annika reinforces the partnership the LPGA and their players have with the LPGA Corning Classic, said Jack Benjamin, LPGA Corning Classic tournament chairman. This partnership is something very special in today's sports arena and one of the reasons the LPGA Corning Classic has participated with the Tour for 25 years.

I applaud Annika for her decision to make this donation to the LPGA Corning Classic, said LPGA Commissioner Ty M. Votaw. The LPGA Corning Classic has been one of the Tours most popular events for the past 25 years, and Annikas gesture is a reflection of that fact. I fully support Annikas decision to play in the Bank of America Colonial and am pleased that she has chosen the LPGA Corning Classic as a beneficiary of herhistoric opportunity.

While Sorenstam is competing with the members of the PGA Tour, Laura Diaz will defend her title against a strong contingent of LPGA stars at the LPGA Corning Classic. Diaz, who won her second career title at the event last May, will face a field that currently includes 22 of the top-30 from the 2002 season-ending money list (the field will be finalized at 5PM ET on May 13). Twelve past champions are scheduled to compete.