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King Hopes to Retain Crown

The LPGA Tour takes a puddle-jumper to the Hawaiian island of Oahu this week for the Cup Noodles Hawaiian Ladies Open.
Oahu offers a little something for everyone and when the players aren't on the golf course, they may be found taking in the sights of Waikiki Beach, shopping, or watching the sunset over Diamond Head at Duke's Canoe Club.
This event, which dates back to 1987, is played on Kapolei Golf Course - home to the only LPGA Tour event played on seashore paspalum greens.
Seashore paspalum is comparable in texture and quality to hybrid bermudagrasses. The grass on the greens is slightly different than last week and the treacherous grain is no longer a concern. However, players will have to keep in mind that the ball doesn't release on this grass.
Golf course superintendent Andy Meikle has been busy seeing to it that the rest of the course is challenging.
Five lakes coming into play over 9 holes on Kapolei G.C., along two inches of rough, prevailing trade winds and greens stimping between 10 and 10.6 should do the trick.
Betsy King defends the title she claimed after besting last year's field by two-strokes with a three day total of 12-under-par 204.
King has some stiff competition to fend off. Joining the thirty-three-time champion this week are LPGA heavy hitters Karrie Webb, Annika Sorenstam, Grace Park, Pat Hurst and four-time LPGA Tour champion Lorie Kane.
Kane had no problem negotiating the break of the greens last week and looks forward to doing it again. This week reading the greens will be straitforward making her job that much easier.
The 2001 Takefuji champion has new found confidence in her game and if she can repeat Sunday's Zen-like performance she's got a good chance of taking home her fifth title.
Worth mentioning are Helen Alfredsson and Maria Hjorth.
First off, Alfredsson seems to be getting closer to finding her game. Alfredsson shot par or better in all three rounds.
Hjorth let the first day after shooting the course record of 67 then fell apart on Saturday shooting 75 but recovered and once again shot a 67. Hjorth may have fell victim to nerves or just had a bad day but what ever the case she will be one to keep an eye on.
Sponsor Exemptions went to: Aki Nakano, Aki Takamura, Kasumi Fujii, Woo-Soon Ko, Orie Fujino, Hsiu-Feng Tseng, Mineku Nasu, Toshimi Kimura, Miyuki Shimubukuro, Michie Ohbe, Nobuku Kizaqa, Riko Higashio.
Fujii received a sponsor exemption at the Takefuji and missed the cut after two rounds of 78-73=151.