Sorenstam aiming at LPGA

After 2 months off, Hall of Famer says she intends to play Bulle Rock

Golf

May 31, 2007|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN REPORTER

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. -- After a nearly two-month layoff, Annika Sorenstam will return to the LPGA Tour today at her own tournament, and the former No. 1-ranked player said she plans to be at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace next week for this year's McDonald's LPGA Championship.

"My intentions are to play next week, and I'm going to try to follow the schedule I had in mind during the year," Sorenstam said yesterday during a news conference at the RiverTowne Country Club for the inaugural Ginn Tribute Hosted By Annika. "If I feel like I do right now, I'm going to continue to play."

Sorenstam has been sidelined since early April with what was initially diagnosed as a ruptured disc in her neck and a bulging disc in her back. Yesterday's practice round marked the first time Sorenstam had played 18 holes since suffering the first major injury of her Hall of Fame career.

"My injury is getting better. I went from a badly ruptured disc to a mild ruptured disc," said Sorenstam, 36. "I'm not 100 percent, and I probably won't be for a while. Right now, playing golf is not going to make it any worse. It's come a long way, and I'm just happy to be back."

Sorenstam's decision to play at Bulle Rock should be a big boost for the tournament. There was some doubt until recently whether either Sorenstam or Michelle Wie, 17, would play because of injuries. Wie, who has been out nearly five months with a reported wrist injury, is also playing this week and said she will play next week.

When Sorenstam won the 2005 LPGA Championship in its debut at Bulle Rock, it marked the first time in LPGA history that a player won the same major championship three straight years. Wie, then an amateur, finished second. Wie finished tied for fifth last year; Sorenstam finished tied for ninth.

"I'm thrilled to have both Annika and Michelle, especially Annika, who has won the event a few times," tournament co-founder Herb Lotman said by telephone yesterday. "During the winter, I was a little concerned that we weren't going to have either of them."

don.markus@baltsun.com

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