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Annika Sorenstam heads Lexus Cup field

Sweden's Annika Sorenstam captains the International Team to take on Asia in the inaugural Lexus Cup starting at Tanah Merah Country Club on Friday, and is happy to have some old foes on her side for once.

The world number one heads a side of 12 that includes top Americans Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis and fellow-Swedes Carin Koch and Sophie Gustafson.

The Asian team is captained by South Korea's Grace Park and also includes two of her compatriots who have won majors this year, U.S. Women's Open Champion Birdie Kim and Women's British Open Champion Jang Jeong.

Sorenstam is confident her team has the perfect mix. "I think we have an advantage in that a lot of us have played in Solheim Cups and have a little more experience of team matchplay," she suggested.

"But it will be strange playing with Paula and Natalie instead of against them as at the Solheim. But I'm pleased we're on the same side and can be friends this week.

"Paula has had a fantastic rookie season on the LPGA Tour (she finished second to Sorenstam on the money list) and she was a key member of the winning U.S. Solheim team. She's a great player.

"I have a lot of long hitters in my team, but the Asians are all very solid players, very accurate and include a number who have won majors. Tanah Merah is a narrow course, it's going to be tunnel golf and I think it will be a very close contest.

"This week is slightly more relaxed than the Solheim, but come Friday and I'm sure everyone will be fired up and have our game faces on. I know we all desperately want to win."

Sorenstam on Wednesday signed a new multi-year sponsorship deal with Lexus and also outlined her plans for the next few seasons as she ruled out any hint of retirement.

"The motivation might not be quite as strong," said the 35-year-old who has totally dominated the women's game for the past five years. "But I still want to win more majors.

"The goal next year is to win the Grand Slam (all four majors) and if it doesn't happen then it will be the same goal the following year."

The format for the Lexus Cup is six foursomes on Friday, six fourballs on Saturday and 12 singles on Sunday.

The winning team receive $50,000 per player with $30,000 for the losing side.


International - Annika Sorenstam (Sweden), Paula Creamer (U.S.), Natalie Gulbis (U.S.), Marisa Baena (U.S.), Catriona Matthew (Britain), Carin Koch (Sweden), Jill McGill (U.S.), Sophie Gustafson (Sweden), Karen Stupples (Britain), Janice Moodie (Britain), Suzann Pettersen (Norway), Erica Blasberg (U.S.)

Asia - Grace Park (South Korea), Jang Jeong (South Korea), Lee Meena (South Korea), Candie Kung (Taiwan), Gloria Park (South Korea), Birdie Kim (South Korea), Han Hee-Won (South Korea), Jennifer Rosales (Philippines), Song Aree (Thailand), Song Naree (Thailand), Riko Higashio (Japan), Namika Omata (Japan).

December 7, 2005

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