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Sorenstam's focus set on first LPGA Major

Annika Sorenstam launches her bid on Thursday for a record third successive victory in the first major of the women's season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The world No. 1 began her season at last week's Ping tournament in Phoenix and let slip a final-round lead to finish joint third behind South Koreans Pak Se Ri and Grace Park.

"But, overall, I was very pleased with last week," Sorenstam told reporters on Tuesday.

"I played really well and shot 19-under but Se Ri [23-under] and Grace [22-under] just played fantastic golf. It shows how many good players are out here."

It is the second time the Swede has had the chance to become only the second woman to win the same major three years in a row -- Patty Berg took the Titleholders Championship from 1934 to 1937.

Sorenstam arrived at the 1997 U.S. Open having won it the previous two years but proceeded to miss the cut.

Back then she said that the pressure had taken its toll. But now she is older, wiser and buoyed by her status as the game's dominant player.

"I'm not thinking about the records, just focusing on what I have to do this week," said Sorenstam. "It's nice to have a place in history but I'm not looking too far ahead."

Over the next four days, she will also try and put to the back of her mind her date with the men at the PGA Tour's Colonial event in Texas at the end of May.

"I don't think it is a distraction but it has certainly kept me busy. Colonial is always at the back of my mind but I want to focus on our tour first," said Sorenstam.

"This week means so much to me. It's a place with very special memories."

For 25-year-old Pak, a win on Sunday would make her the youngest woman to complete a career grand slam.

"Yes, this is the big one," said the holder of four majors. "But I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself."

It was a new TaylorMade driver that helped her win last week but the South Korean also said she had taken a leaf out of Sorenstam's book by becoming a regular visitor to the gym.

"Annika has made everyone work harder," said Pak. "But I feel good, my game has improved a lot and the win last week has given me a lot of confidence."

The tournament always includes several amateurs and this year's list includes the talented 13-year-old Hawaiian Michelle Wie.

 

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