News and Notes for the Week of March 30, 2009

1. Stars gather for 38th edition of Kraft Nabisco Championship
97-player field includes players from 19 countries

2. This week: Kraft Nabisco Championship, Mission Hills Country Club, Dinah Shore Tournament Course, Rancho Mirage, Calif., $2,000,000, April 2-5, 2009; TV Times; GCSAA Course Information; Collegiate Ties
3. LPGA news and notes
4. Pipeline to the LPGA Tour
5. Race for the Cup

1. Stars gather for 38th edition of Kraft Nabisco Championship
97-player field includes players from 19 countries
 
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - One year ago, Lorena Ochoa entered the Kraft Nabisco Championship with two wins in her first three starts of the season. By the end of the weekend, she was a Kraft Nabisco Championship winner by a five-stroke margin of victory over Suzann Pettersen and Annika Sorenstam.

This week, Ochoa leads the field back to the 38-year home of the Kraft Nabisco Championship: Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. A total of 19 countries are represented in the 97-player field. Leading the Tour with a 69.73 scoring average and three top-10 finishes in four events, including a win at the Honda LPGA Thailand, Ochoa hasn't lost her form. Three active members from the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame will be in contention this week: two-time Kraft Nabisco Championship winners Juli Inkster (1984, 1989) and Karrie Webb (2000, 2006), whose first win since 2006 came at last week's J Golf Phoenix LPGA International Presented by Mirassou Winery. The Halls' most recent inductee Se Ri Pak only needs a win this week to become the seventh player to complete the LPGA Career Grand Slam - winning all major championships on the Tour schedule.

The young stars of the LPGA are also sure to be in contention this week as 2009 LPGA Tour rookie - and 2009 HSBC Women's Champions winner - Jiyai Shin is building momentum off her runner-up finish last week, as are the duo who tied for fourth: Pettersen, of Norway, and 2008 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Yani Tseng. Tseng's performance at last week's event made her the fastest player in LPGA Tour history to cross the $2 million mark in career earnings (32 events; 1 year, 1 month, 13 days). It was also her fourth top-10 finish in five starts this season, which leads the Tour, as does her tally of 75 birdies to-date. Tseng also led the Tour in 2008 with 388 birdies. Although Pettersen has not won since her five LPGA victories in 2007, she has twice finished runner-up at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in as many years and has plans to capitalize on the saying, 'third time's a charm.'

Off the 2009 LPGA Official Money List - which Shin leads with $448,517 - 49 of the top-50 players are competing this week, bringing the experience of 210 victories.
 
For this week's tournament field: Click here>>
 

2. This week: Kraft Nabisco Championship, Mission Hills Country Club, Dinah Shore Tournament Course, Rancho Mirage, Calif., $2,000,000, April 2-5, 2009; TV Times; GCSAA Course Information; Collegiate Ties
 

Par:  36-36, 72
Yardage:  6,673
Format: 72-hole stroke play
            Winner:  $300,000
            Runner-up:  $183,814
Field:  97 players
Defending champion: Lorena Ochoa
Victory margin:  Defeated Annika Sorenstam and Suzann Pettersen by five strokes
Media center:  760-864-6920
LPGA media contacts:  Mike Scanlan and Dana Gross-Rhode
 
●  TV Times
 
ESPN2

April 2-3    5-7 p.m.
April 4  6-8 p.m.
 
CBS
April 5  3-6 p.m.
 
All times Eastern
 
  ● GCSAA Course Information
 
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

Mission Hills Country Club, Dinah Shore Tournament Course
Rancho Mirage, Calif.
 
GCSAA Class A Golf Course Superintendent, contact: David R. Johnson, 760-202-4531
Course architect, date: Desmond Muirhead, 1970
 
Course grasses

Tees - Bermudagrass
Fairways - Bermudagrass, Kentucky bluegrass
Greens - Bermudagrass, perennial ryegrass; poa trivialis
Rough - Bermudagrass, perennial ryegrass
 
For more information, access GCSAA Fact Sheets at GCSAA.org
 
   ● Collegiate Ties
 
The following LPGA Tour players competing in this week's Kraft Nabisco Championship have collegiate ties to California:
 
De Anza Community College
Christina Kim
 
Pepperdine University
Katherine Hull (2003, Sports Administration)
Lindsey Wright (2003, Sports Administration)
 
San Jose State University
Pat Hurst
Juli Inkster
Janice Moodie (1997, Psychology)
 
Stanford University
Michelle Wie
 
United States International University
Helen Alfredsson (1988, International Business)
 
University of California, Los Angeles
Jane Park
 
University of Southern California
Nicole Castrale (2001, Social Science)
Candie Kung
Jill McGill (1994, Communications)
Jennifer Rosales
 

3. LPGA news and notes
 
Webb wins J Golf Phoenix LPGA International Presented by Mirassou Winery
Outlasts Shin, Kim to capture 36th career LPGA Tour victory
 
PHOENIX, Ariz., March 29, 2009
- LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member Karrie Webb captured her 36th career LPGA Tour victory on Sunday at the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International Presented by Mirassou Winery. The 34-year-old Aussie carded a 5-under-par 67 - her best tally of the week - to earn her first victory of the season. Webb's four-day total of 14-under-par 274 (70-68-69-67) was two strokes better than LPGA Tour rookie and four-time winner Jiyai Shin (69-71-66-70) who finished at 12-under-par 276.

"It's very important. It means a lot to me," said Webb after accepting the Barbara Gordon Trophy, named after the former Phoenix tournament director. "I have won in Australia in those two years (since last winning on the LPGA Tour), but winning on the LPGA against the best players in the world is obviously very important to me."

The last time Karrie Webb and Jiyai Shin were paired together on the LPGA Tour was the final round of the 2008 ADT Championship, where Shin walked away with the $1 million first-place check and her third victory as a non-member of the LPGA Tour. The tables were turned on Sunday in Phoenix, with Webb capturing the $225,000 first-place check, but more importantly, her first victory in 44 starts since winning the 2006 Mizuno Classic.

"You just sometimes wonder if - you know, you have still got the ability to do it, but you are just not putting the scores on the board that indicate that you can still do it," Webb said. "Even less than a month ago I was still questioning that. It really isn't as far away as you think."

Shin led Webb and In-Kyung Kim by one stroke entering the final round, but the "Final-Round Queen," as Shin is dubbed in Korea, was unable to hold off a surge by Webb on the front nine. Shin finished the day at 2-under-par 70 - her fourth sub-par round of the week - and increased her LPGA Official Money List total to $448,517 to lead second-ranked Lorena Ochoa by almost $50,000.

First and second-round leader Kim found the water on the par-5 10th hole and went on to make double bogey, effectively dropping herself out of the race. Kim finished alone in third and earned $101,258 - her biggest paycheck since winning the 2008 Longs Drugs Challenge.
 
Tseng fastest to $2 million. With her tie for fourth at the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International Presented by Mirassou Winery, second-year Tour member Yani Tseng (72-72-67-67) became the fastest player in LPGA history to cross the $2 million mark in career earnings (32 events; 1 year, 1 month, 13 days). Tseng's 10-under-par 278 was worth $70,689 to bring her to $2,043,455 during her LPGA career - improving on the previous record held by Paula Creamer, who reached the mark in 1 year, 4 months, 15 days at the 2006 HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship.
 
Players to visit blood bank. Four LPGA Tour players will visit the Community Blood Bank in Palm Springs, Calif., today in advance of the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Allison Fouch, Katie Futcher, Louise Friberg and Heather Young will distribute refreshments and sign autographs from 3 to 5 p.m. PST.
 
LPGA on Twitter. As interest and usage of social media grows, the LPGA continues to be full-steam ahead, as well, this time launching its own Twitter page at http://twitter.com/lpga. Check out the LPGA page, as well as the Twitter pages of some of the athletes, including Natalie Gulbis, Morgan Pressel and Anna Rawson.
 
Hole-in-one.  Kris Tamulis carded her first-career LPGA hole-in-one during the first round of the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International Presented by Mirassou Winery. Tamulis used an 8-iron from 154 yards to record the ace on the par-3 second hole. Tamulis finished the week tied for 39th at 3-over-par 291.
 
Choi changes name. Four-year LPGA Tour member H.J. Choi, of South Korea, will be playing the remainder of the 2009 LPGA season as Hye Jung Choi.
 
PING awards champions with gold-plated putters.
In recognition of their major championship achievements, PING Golf awarded five solid gold putter heads to LPGA members who play the company's clubs on Tuesday, March 24 prior to the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International Presented by Mirassou Winery. Tour members Lorena Ochoa (2008 Kraft Nabisco Championship), Suzann Pettersen (2007 McDonald's Championship Presented by Coca-Cola), Cristie Kerr (2007 U.S. Women's Open), Karrie Webb (2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship) and Sherri Steinhauer (2006 Women's British Open) all received solid gold putter heads mounted on a plaque, as well as gold-plated PING putters for each victory in 2008 and 2009.
 
Webb earns stay at Canyon Ranch.  With her victory at the 2009 J Golf Phoenix LPGA International Presented by Mirassou Winery, Karrie Webb earned an all-inclusive stay for two at a Canyon Ranch resort. In a combined effort to promote health and overall well-being among Tour players, Canyon Ranch will provide every winner of an LPGA event with one all-inclusive stay at one of Canyon Ranch's two destination resorts.
 
Five move within the top-20. The top-20 positions of the Rolex Rankings saw some shuffling going on following the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International Presented by Mirassou Winery last week. The highest-ranking move was South Korean rookie and last week's runner-up Jiyai Shin moving up one position into third, pushing American Paula Creamer to fourth. Karrie Webb, a 36-time LPGA Tour winner - most recently at Papago Golf Course last week, is the eighth-ranked player in the world, while South Korean Eun-Hee Ji took the 11th position away from Webb's compatriot Katherine Hull, who is now the 12th-ranked player in the world. The 2007 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Angela Park is now the 15th-best player in the world, just ahead of Maria Hjorth and 2008 Wegmans LPGA champion In-Kyung Kim had the largest move going up five spots to break into the Rolex Rankings' top-20 at 19th.

The Rolex Rankings are sanctioned by the five major women's professional golf tours: the LPGA; Ladies European Tour (LET); Ladies Professional Golfers' Association of Japan (LPGA of Japan); Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA); Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG); as well as the Ladies Golf Union (LGU), which administers the RICOH Women's British Open.  The Rolex Rankings are the only women's world rankings that incorporate player performances from the five major tours and the Duramed FUTURES Tour, the official developmental tour of the LPGA.
 

4. Pipeline to the LPGA Tour
 
March 22, 2009
 
The players finishing in the top five on the final 2009 Duramed FUTURES Tour money list will receive exemptions onto the 2010 LPGA Tour.

Player Events played Earnings
1. Jean Reynolds 1 $14,000
2. Song Yi Choi  1 10,000
3. Nicole Hage 1 6,134
  Ashley Prange 1 6,134
5 Dewi Claire Schreefel 1 3,359
  Christine Song 1 3,359
  Lisa Meldrum 1 3,359

Next tournament: $100,000, iMPACT Invitational, LPGA International, Legends Course, Daytona Beach, Fla., April 3-5, 2009
 
Charity: American Lung Association of Florida
 
For more information, log on to www.duramedfuturestour.com.
 

5. Race for the Cup
 
This week's Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the 2009 season, is the first opportunity this season for U.S.-born LPGA Tour players to earn double points toward a spot on the 2009 U.S. Solheim Cup Team. A victory this week at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. is worth 120 points. The last American to win at the Kraft Nabisco Championship was Morgan Pressel in 2007.

The Solheim Cup is a biennial, trans-Atlantic team match-play competition featuring the best U.S.-born players from the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour and the best European members from the Ladies European Tour (LET). The U.S. Team leads the competition, 7-3, and has never lost The Solheim Cup on home soil.
 
2009 Solheim Cup countdown:

-   3 days until the start of the season's first major - the Kraft Nabisco Championship - where double points will be awarded to U.S.-born LPGA players.

-   125 days until U.S. and European teams are announced following the RICOH Women's British Open.

-   144 days until matches begin at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
 
Captain's corner - Beth Daniel on the Kraft Nabisco Championship
"The majors are important, that's why they are double points. Someone could easily come off the radar at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Look at Pat Hurst going from 17th to 13th after winning in Mexico (a few weeks ago). And that's one of the reasons why the second year is worth more than the first year. We want players who are playing really well going into The Solheim Cup."

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