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Se Ri Pak tees up against men on home soil

Se Ri Pak says one of her main concerns about playing against the men is whether she can hit far enough, although the local expectation that she'll make the cut could be an even bigger burden.

``Even if you really play well, there is still a big burden because of the differences in distance,'' Pak told the Associated Press during a practice round Wednesday on the eve of her challenge against the men.

``People's expectations that I will 100 percent make the cut is also a big burden for me,'' Pak said after playing at the 7,052-yard Lake Side Country Club outside Seoul.

The 26-year-old South Korean, who is second to Annika Sorenstam on the LPGA money list, modestly says she thinks she can learn a lot by competing on the men's tour.

But Pak is as ambitious as any of the other top female golfers and wants to make history.

``I think the key is to putt well, and to minimize mistakes as much as possible,'' Pak said as she practiced in windy conditions. ``I am representing the women, so it is a challenge against men, and I do want to play well.''

On Wednesday, she looked relaxed, often joking and laughing with her caddie Colin Cann.

On Thursday, Pak will become the sixth woman to play against the men this year when she tees off with Korean players at the 2003 SBS Super Tournament.

Sorenstam, the No. 1 female player, became the first woman in 58 years on the PGA Tour when she missed the cut at Colonial with rounds of 71-74. Connecticut club pro Suzy Whaley and 13-year-old amateur Michelle Wie, former World No. 1 Laura Davies and Jan Stephenson all missed the cut at other tournaments.

Pak will start here in a group with Shin Yong-jin and Yang Yong-eun, the tournament's defending champion.

Shin said Pak was in with a chance because the course wasn't particularly long.

``I don't see Pak's play as a (gender) challenge, but rather just a play among professional players,'' Shin said.

In the meantime, Pak says she has no time to lose in preparations, and insists on doing interviews during a practice round rather than at the end.

``There is no end to learning in golf, and I think I will learn a lot by seeing how men play,'' Pak said.

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