Wie opens against Hannemann
GLADSTONE, N.J. » U.S. Women's Open champion Annika Sorenstam will face Virada Nirapathpongporn on Thursday in the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship, while Punahou's Michelle Wie will open against Candy Hannemann in the other half of the draw.
Sorenstam, the top seed in the $2 million event, won her third U.S. Women's Open title yesterday, beating Pat Hurst 70-74 in an 18-hole playoff at Newport Country Club. The Swede planned to take today off, then play in the pro-am round tomorrow.
"Maybe not the preparation I had in mind for such a major tournament, but this was the week I had in my mind," Sorenstam said yesterday in Rhode Island.
The 64th-seeded Nirapathpongporn earned a spot at Hamilton Farm last week through the LPGA Tour money list. The 24-year-old Thai player won the 2002 NCAA individual title for Duke and the 2003 U.S. Women's Amateur.
The 16-year-old Wie, coming off a third-place tie in the Women's Open, earned the second seed as the No. 2 player in the new world rankings. She will face the 63rd-seeded Hannemann, the 26-year-old Brazilian who got the last spot in the field Sunday when previous qualifiers Sorenstam and Hurst advanced to the playoff. Hannemann also starred at Duke, winning the 2001 NCAA individual title.
Mexico's Lorena Ochoa, the No. 3 seed, will open against No. 62 Il Mi Chung, fourth-seeded Karrie Webb will face No. 61 Nancy Scranton, and No. 5 Paula Creamer will meet No. 60 Miriam Nagl.