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Wie part of top-notch field this week


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POSTED: Thursday, June 04, 2009

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. » Given the opportunity at hand, Honolulu's Michelle Wie wasn't thinking about the major that lies ahead.

No sense in that, considering she's seeking her first LPGA Tour victory. Now would be a good time to bust through. Wie has another chance at the State Farm Classic against a loaded field this weekend, and if she gets it, she'll have all the momentum she needs heading into the McDonald's LPGA Championship.

“;I just even forgot that McDonald's is next week,”; Wie said. “;I'm just focusing on this week. ... You can't control the future. You can't control the past. What you do now is most important. I'm learning that. I'm trying to stay in the present.”;

The present has her staring at a field boasting nine of the top 10—and 49 of the top 50—money winners on a lengthened course at Panther Creek that figures to play more like those at majors. Only top-ranked Lorena Ochoa is missing.

In the past, some top players skipped Springfield, but with a sagging economy and a favorable schedule change, the State Farm has a high profile and the talent to match.

Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Brittany Lincicome is here, as is the woman she beat—2007 U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr, the current money leader. So are 2008 British Open winner Jiyai Shin and Rookie of the Year Yani Tseng, the runner-up last year. Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford, Karrie Webb, Natalie Gulbis and, of course, Wie are here, too.

Why?

Five events got wiped out because of sponsorship withdrawals, meaning there are more breaks this year—including one last week. That and the scheduling switch gave the State Farm a big boost.

“;It's important to play, and I think it's very important to come to this event,”; said Creamer. “;I chose to come here. I feel like it's necessary to prepare for other events as well.”;