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Pak looking for another Jamie Farr win

Se Ri Pak's mother and sister are visiting from South Korea, giving the LPGA Tour star two more reasons to win the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic for a fourth time.

The last time Pak's mother joined her in suburban Toledo, Pak rewrote the LPGA record book and had the tournament practically sewn up heading to the final round.

She has won the tournament two more times since and also finished third.

``She knows this golf course. She likes it here, too,'' Pak said this week as she got ready for Thursday's opening round at Highland Meadows Golf Club. ``I hope for a good memory this week. Part of the family is here to spend time with me. Just too bad older sister and Dad couldn't come, too.''

Pak doesn't need the extra rooters because she has been all but adopted by the galleries. The main street of Sylvania has ``Se Ri Pak Drive'' signs posted for the week of the tournament.

The rest of the field isn't intimidated by Pak, although many say her confidence coming into the tournament is understandable.

``It just seems like some players always play well on some courses,'' Laura Diaz said. ``For Se Ri, this just happens to be one of the ones she always plays well on.''

Pak has won under different circumstances almost every time, although after she won a year ago, she said she couldn't differentiate.

``Every year here is pretty much the same for me,'' she said.

As a rookie in 1998, Pak finished with a 23-under 261 total that included a 61 in the second round -- both tour records at the time that have been broken by Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam, respectively. Pak wound up winning by nine strokes.

In 1999, she survived an LPGA record six-way playoff to win with a 12-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole.

Sorenstam won a the next year as Pak missed a playoff by one stroke.

Last year she closed with a 3-under 68 -- with birdies on the final two holes -- to beat Maria Hjorth by two shots. She celebrated the win by jumping into the swimming pool near the 18th green.

Pak, 26, said she has discussed jumping into the pool with her mother, if she should win again.

``I don't know if Mother will do that,'' she said with a smile. ``We will try.''

Six of the top 10 on the LPGA money list are in the field, including Pak, Diaz, Mi Hyun Kim, Grace Park and Webb, who are ranked third through seventh. Sorenstam and No. 2 Juli Inkster, fresh from a victory in last week's Women's U.S. Open, are not playing.

Webb said she is primed to play well, even though she missed the cut at the Open as the two-time defending champion. She said she isn't worried about having fallen off her customary perch near the top of the money list and being eclipsed by Sorenstam.

``People think I should be more concerned with that than I am,'' Webb said. ``I have achieved more than I ever dreamed of. If I am going to struggle and be seventh on the money list, then that's fine if that's my struggle. I am disappointed with last week, but I just keep working hard and continue to be happy with the last six years. Things just haven't been the same as a couple years ago.''

Pak has no answers for why she has been so successful at the Farr.

``I don't know why I always play this well,'' she said. ``You know, I know this golf course and it just happens. I just go out and I pretty much feel comfortable. My course management is pretty good and mentally I always feel great.''

Pak won her fourth career major championship earlier this year at the McDonald's LPGA Championship.

The Farr winner collects $150,000 from a $1 million purse.


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