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Pak: “It’s Been a While, Sorenstam”

Posted March. 03, 2005 22:46,   


“A heaven for short-range hitters, a hell for the gallery.”

The second tournament of the 2005 American LPGA Tour, the Master Card Classic (total purse: $1.2 million), scheduled to open at 10:00 p.m. (Korean time) on March 4, is expected to be an exciting match.

The course at Bosque Real Country Club in Mexico City (par 72, 6,932 yards), is placed on higher terrain with longer average hits, while down slopes makes it easy even for shorter hitters to score two-ons with short irons on par four holes of more than 400 yards.

When the second shot taken with an eight-iron with 16 yards left to go on the eighth hole (par 4, 435 yards) at the practice round goes over the green, the “Ultra Peanut” Jang Jeong (152cm) said, “a seven-wood averages 185 yards on level field, but it goes over 200 yards here. I feel more confident that I won’t have to use a driver for shots over 400.”

Even Pak Se-ri (CJ), who finished a pro-am on March 3, said, “I would usually take a six-iron for shots within 175 yards, but an eight-iron would do the trick here. Longer hitters may have some headaches with club selection, though.”

This course, however, may not be so convenient for the gallery. There are many slopes to climb up and down. Players and caddies will ride in a golf cart 11 times. On the eighth hole in particular, after the second shot over a small valley, they will have to hitch a ride to the green. Led by Pak, who missed the SBS Open, the tour’s opening tournament, 21 players make up the “Korean Corps.” Pak Se-ri, who just completed a tough winter training session, expressed her confidence, saying, “I like my new caddie, Eric Tuscan. He is quite a help with distance estimation and on green thanks to his own experience as a golfer.

With the “Empress on Green,” Annika Sörenstam (Sweden), showing up for the first time this season, emerging from the shock of a divorce, Jennifer Rosales (Philippines) trying for her second consecutive win in a week, and “Mexican Golf Hero” Lorena Ochoa, some serious competition is expected to be witnessed in the next three days.

Young-Sik Ahn ysahn@donga.com