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Annika Sorenstam seeking history

Annika Sorenstam is seeking a return to her dominant form and a piece of history. Michelle Wie likely will have something to say about whether it happens.

Sorenstam and Wie headline the field for the LPGA Championship, which starts Thursday at Bulle Rock Golf Course.

Sorenstam is seeking her fourth straight victory in the tournament, the second major championship of the season. With her triumph here last year, Sorenstam became the first LPGA player to win the same major three years in a row.

Last season, Wie finished second here to Sorenstam by three shots. In her two LPGA events this season, Wie has finished third and missed a playoff by a stroke each time.

The 16-year-old from Hawaii will have no problem handling the pressure of the event considering her success here a year ago and what she went through in her last outing.

Attempting to become the first female to qualify for the U.S. Open, Wie was in the hunt for a spot at Winged Foot before a run of late bogeys ended her hopes. Despite not making the cut at Canoe Brook, Wie has no doubt that the experience will help her in her quest for her first LPGA title.

"I think it helped me a lot. Playing 36 holes yesterday, I think after that I think playing 18 holes for four days is going to be a breeze," Wie said Tuesday. "The greens are very tricky, they have a lot of slope to them. Even when they didn't have a lot of slope to them they were very subtle and tricky. So hopefully I can use that experience yesterday to read the greens better this week."

Sorenstam will do all she can to keep Wie from posting her breakthrough win, and if the Swedish superstar stretches her run to four straight, she will become just the fifth LPGA player to win at least 10 major titles.

To do so, Sorenstam will have to regain the form that she exhibited a year ago. By this time last season, she had five wins and went on to capture 10 titles. Her only victory this season came in her first event, and in her last two starts, Sorenstam was in the final group on Sunday but failed to post a victory.

"Obviously, I'm not as happy with the season as I was last year when I came into this event," she said. "I can't really pinpoint what it is, other than that I haven't performed as well. I'm making still a lot of birdies, but I'm making a ton of bogeys. And it's been tough for me to score that way."

If Sorenstam has trouble scoring again this week, there will be plenty of players ready to jump at the chance to win a major. Six of the 13 tournaments this season have been won by Korean players, including last week's ShopRite Classic, which went to 20-year-old rookie Seon Hwa Lee.

"They work hard, and they're very, very committed," Sorenstam said of the Koreans. "If you do that, you're going to produce some great results. And that's what you're seeing."

It's also what Sorenstam is used to seeing, too. Especially in this event.

"This could be an historical week, so I'm excited about that opportunity," Sorenstam said. "But I think I'm just going to try and focus on the things that I control, which is what I keep on saying is one day at a time, one shot at a time. But I'm definitely aware of what's on stake this week, so excited about the opportunity for sure."

 

 




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