Advertiser Staff and News Services
After a week of rest and cross-country travel, the LPGA Tour will be in Hawaii the next two weeks for the LPGA Takefuji Classic and the Cup Noodles Hawaiian Ladies Open.
The golfers are on the Big Island this week, at Kona Country Clubs Ocean Course. Last years inaugural Takefuji Classic came down to Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam in a playoff. Webb won with her second birdie in a matter of minutes on the 18th hole.
She would go on to win seven titles in 2000, set a single-season earnings record ($1,876,853) and capture her second consecutive Rolex Player of the Year title. Sorenstam was Player of the Year the previous two seasons, and won more tournaments in the 1990s than any other player.
It was a playoff made in LPGA heaven, between two players who were not yet 30. Webb and Sorenstam have changed the face of the game so dramatically since joining the tour that both have already qualified for the LPGA Hall of Fame, but have to wait for the 10-year membership requirement to be formally inducted.
Both will be back this week. The Classic starts Wednesday with the Pro-Am and the 54-hole tournament will be played Thursday-Sunday.
The 130-player field also includes Lorie Kane, Pat Hurst, Mi Hyun Kim and Michele Redman, who followed Webb and Sorenstam on the money list last year. Sophie Gustafson and Grace Park - winners of the last two LPGA events - are on the commitment sheet, as are Hall of Famers Betsy King and Patty Sheehan, and former University of Hawaii golfer Cindy Flom.
The tour then moves to Oahu for the 16th annual Hawaiian Ladies Open, Feb. 15-17. King will defend her title and the 144-player field also includes a dozen of the Japan LPGAs top golfers.
Both events have three days of coverage on The Golf Channel and in Japan. The foreign broadcasts are the reason for the Thursday-Saturday schedule, which allows the final round to be shown Sunday in Japan.
Royal Carribean Classic: Larry Nelson, who won six times last year, captured his second tournament of the year yesterday by winning the $1.4 million event in Key Biscayne, Fla. In his last 10 starts, he has won six times and finished second twice.
"I dont like using the word dominant," said Nelson, who won $210,000. "I dont know what anyone else thinks of me, but I feel that if I play well enough, I can win a lot."
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