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Published: Thursday, 3/22/2001

Webb joins Annika in Farr

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The top rivalry in women's golf will headline this summer's Jamie Farr Kroger Classic.

Tournament director Judd Silverman said yesterday that Karrie Webb will join defending champion Annika Sorenstam in the July 5-8 event, presented by Alltel, at Highland Meadows Golf Club.

It will mark the first time both have appeared at the Farr Classic in the same year.

“I don't think the rivalry has ever been as intense as it is right now and we're thrilled both have signed the commitment sheet to play in our tournament,” Silverman said.

Sorenstam, who last week became the first player in LPGA Tour history to shoot a sub-60s round, was a given for the Farr field as the tournament's defending champion. The addition of Webb, who was absent from last year's event, and two-time champion Se Ri Pak, who also signed on yesterday, may guarantee the local tour stop of its best-ever field.

“I personally spoke to Karrie at the LPGA's awards banquet in January and, unsolicited, she told me she had every intention of coming back to Toledo this summer,” Silverman said. “I couldn't announce anything, though, until she officially committed.

“It's exciting for us because both players want to be No. 1 in the world. So does Se Ri, who is off to her best start ever.”

This week, Webb will be defending her title in the Nabisco Championship, the LPGA's first major of the season, at Rancho Mirage, Calif. Sorenstam enters the same event after successive victories and having just leapfrogged Webb to gain the No. 1 world ranking.

Two weeks ago, Sorenstam won in Tucson with a 23-under-par total. She shattered that last week in Phoenix with a round of 59 en route to an LPGA-record, 27-under total.

How hot has Sorenstam been?

Pak has played the last two tournaments in a combined 42-under, but could do no better than a pair of runner-up finishes. Pak won the LPGA's first event this year in Orlando.

Sorenstam is the tour's leading money winner with $411,448 after just four starts. Pak is No. 2 with $297,105 while Webb, who has yet to win this year after scoring seven victories in 2000, currently ranks fourth with earnings of $237,963.

“I think it's great for women's golf the way Annika and Karrie are pushing each other,” Silverman said. “You look at the great year Karrie had in 2000, then you see how Annika was fired up to come out this season and out-do her. I think Se Ri Pak has answered the challenge, as well.

“I suspect they'll be putting the heat on each other all year and it's exciting that the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic is one of the events in which all three of them will be going head-to-head.”



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