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Annika Sorenstam hoping to bounce back again

Three weeks ago at the U.S. Women's Open, Annika Sorenstam suffered one of the toughest defeats of her career. Even after a two-week break, she's still feeling the sting.

The world No. 1 will be looking for rebound at the euro 2.1 million ($2.5 million) Evian Masters, which begins Wednesday in this Alpine village -- but her Open disappointment hasn't faded just yet.

``Knowing I played so well, was so patient, and it just didn't do it,'' she said Tuesday. ``You look for the positive in it, but sometimes it seems hard to find.''

Sorenstam did everything right at the Open, but Meg Mallon did everything better, winning by two shots with her final-round 65 -- the best-ever finish by an Open winner. Mallon, 41, followed that up with a four-stroke victory in the Canadian Women's Open a week later.

For Sorenstam, rest and relaxation was the order of the day after the U.S. Open.

``I was at Lake Tahoe hanging out on the boat,'' Sorenstam said, ``mainly just recharging my batteries.''

In Evian, the 33-year-old Swede will be paired with Se Ri Pak and Mallon, both of whom Sorenstam praised for good recent play: ``Sometimes that helps to get a momentum going.''

Among other standouts in the 78-woman field will be defending champion Juli Inkster, Grace Park, Lorena Ochoa, Karrie Webb, Cristie Kerr and 14-year-old amateur sensation Michelle Wie.

Overall, 19 of the top 20 on the LPGA money list line up in Evian, which offers a hefty euro 300,000 ($375,000) to the winner.

``It's a great purse, a great field, and they run a first-class event here,'' said Sorenstam. ``I would agree it's our 5th major of the year.''

Sorenstam, who won here in 2000 and 2002, met up with longtime teacher Henri Reis for some technical fine-tuning ahead of the Evian tournament.

``I was getting a bit off track,'' she said.

Nobody is more securely on track right now than Mallon, who has been reveling in her two recent victories.

``It was just a magical two weeks,'' she said. ``When that sort of thing happens to you just have to embrace it.''

After the win in Canada, the former Ohio State star caught her breath for a week at home. But traveling abroad, she said, has left her a bit tired.

``But it's a good tired,'' Mallon said. ``And I'm really looking forward to an enjoyable week's golf here.''

Defending Inkster faced a mishap even before arriving: Her luggage went missing at London's Heathrow airport -- but she was able to keep up with her clubs.

``I still don't have any clothes. The clothes I'm wearing, they stand up in a corner all by themselves,'' she joked.

Inkster shot a course record 62 last year, when strong putting and close iron shots helped deliver the victory on the scenic Evian course between the Alps and Lake Geneva.

``I'm looking forward to getting out there again,'' she said. ``The setting here is just unique.''

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