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Teenagers hoping to make Major impact

Teenagers Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie will be keen to make a mark in the second women's major of the season, the LPGA Championship which starts on Thursday.

Creamer stole a march on fellow American Wie when she became the second youngest winner on the LPGA Tour at last month's Sybase Classic in New York.

The 18-year-old Creamer also has her sights set on becoming the youngest Solheim Cup player of all time in September.

But Wie, 15, is the one who has grabbed most headlines to date.

She played in her first LPGA tournament as a 12-year-old and has already had two top-10 finishes in majors, including a fourth at last year's Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The Hawaiian amateur hinted on Wednesday that it might not be long before she turns professional.

Wie has always said she wants to go on to further education, with Stanford in California her college of choice.

"But I could turn professional and still go to college," she told reporters.

Wie is the first amateur to compete in the LPGA Championship and the change in rules to warrant her invitation was not without controversy.

"I was surprised when I got the invitation but it's not as though I lobbied for it," she said. "Of course I accepted because I love playing in majors.

"This year I'm getting to play in all four which is a real privilege."

Wie said she was not surprised that Creamer had won in only her ninth start as a professional.

"She's a great player and I was really happy for her," said the Hawaiian teenager.

Creamer played down the competition with Wie, saying: "I don't really see Michelle as a rival because she's not a professional golfer".

Asked who she would describe as her rival, Creamer replied: "I want to be number one in the world, so it has to be Annika Sorenstam".

Sorenstam aims to strengthen her domination of the women's game by winning this title for the third year in a row to collect the second leg of a possible grand slam of all four majors in a single season.

The Swede, who also won the Kraft Nabisco in March, tees off at 0832 local time with another young American, Natalie Gulbis, and South Korea's Gloria Park.

After two practice rounds at the Bulle Rock course, Sorenstam said was ready for the challenge.

"I love the course already and feel very prepared," said the 34-year-old, who has won seven of her last nine LPGA tournaments and is aiming for a ninth major.

"The course is playing very long, the rough is extremely thick, so the driver will be the key club."


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