Stage set for Ginn Open

The Ginn Open has plenty of story lines. All but two of this year's top 50 US LPGA Tour money winners are in the field.

updated: April 13, 2007 17:14 IST
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The Ginn Open has plenty of story lines.

All but two of this year's top 50 US LPGA Tour money winners are in the field.

Morgan Pressel, the 18-year-old who is fresh off her first win at the season's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, is playing just two hours north of her home.

And 50-year-old Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez picked this event to start a comeback.

Top spot

Then there's perhaps the biggest story of all - Annika vs Lorena.

The ongoing battle for the No 1 spot in the women's world rankings continues this week, with Annika Sorenstam trying to hang on to her place atop that list, and Lorena Ochoa - last year's player of the year - closing on her her.

A victory for Ochoa this week might be enough to get her there.

"I'm not in a hurry," Ochoa said on Wednesday. "I've been waiting for five years and I've been waiting for many, many years. ... If it happens this week or if it happens in three weeks or five weeks, that's OK, too."

Sorenstam has had many challengers over the years during her reign as the best women's player, notably Karrie Webb and Se Ri Pak.

Now the closest pursuer is Ochoa, and Sorenstam was asked on Wednesday if she relishes when someone challenges her to be at her very best. "I'm not really sure I do," Sorenstam said.

Best shot

To win this week - a $2.6 million event, the third-biggest on the LPGA slate this year, with $390,000 to the champion - Sorenstam or anyone else in the field will probably have to be at their best.

Only 23 of the 83 players who made the cut here in 2006 broke par for the week, and if anything, the sense is that the 6,505-yard course at the Reunion Resort may be playing longer and tougher this year.

"It feels like a little bit of a major tournament," said defending champion Kim Mi-hyun of South Korea.

It's not a major, but it's got plenty of major winners, including Lopez, a three-time major champion who's making her return and believes that she's ready to compete again, even though her last LPGA victory was a decade ago.

Lopez, who has lost nearly 18 kilos during the past year, says she's hitting the ball well and believes that if her body holds up she could be vying for top-10 finishes.