Sorenstam takes the Trump Challenge

Annika Sorenstam returns to defend her Office Depot Championship title against the top 144 golfers on the LPGA tour.

office_depot_logo.jpg“The Donald” will be unveiling his spectacular golf facility this week as he welcomes the LPGA to Trump National Golf CLub Los Angeles for the Office Depot Championship.

Annika Sorenstam is back in the spotlight for another title defense and perhaps to win a share of the $1.3 million dollar purse. The good news is that Sorenstam has won this event on three occasions and has also been victorious defending her trophies in three out of four events this year.

The only difficulty Annika might face is that she will be squaring off against all of the 2005 season champions including the top 96 of the 100 golfers on the Official ADT Money List. A very elite group indeed!

A 54-hole tournament isn’t necessarily one of Annika Sorenstam’s favorite type of events. The Swede has stated on several occasions that 72-hole championships are better for her because “I’m more of a marathoner, not a sprinter”. But Annika has won this event two years in a row and has also come in first in her last four three-day events with her WORST finish being fourth place so don’t cry too much for Annika. I expect her to add another top-five placement this week. If Sorenstam wins this tournament it will be just her third tournament that she has won four times.

Facing off against Annika Sorenstam this week is the number-two golfer on tour Paula Creamer. The fearless 19-year-old rookie has perservered to win twice on tour, once by a landslide with Annika in the field. At the 2005 Solheim Cup Paula led Team USA to an exciting victory over the Europeans with Annika leading the charge. Winning on tour and gaining nine top-six finishes in her first year is certainly one terrific accomplishment. Knocking Sorenstam out of the number-one position on the money list is yet another hurdle which we just may see the Pink Panther achieve over time.

Solheim Cup standouts Cristie Kerr, Rosie Jones, Natalie Gulbis, Juli Inkster and Meg Mallon will all be present at Trump National. Kerr was a guest on last season’s “Apprentice” and has the fun of being Trump’s golfing buddy whenever she has the opportunity (she has his private number listed in her Blackberry). One of the not-for-profit associations benefitting this week is Birdies for Breast Cancer which is Kerr’s charity as well as the Urban Youth Golf Charity, two very worthwhile causes.

Seeking the same goal but on two opposites ends of the spectrum are Rosie Jones who is looking for a victory before retirement and Natalie Gulbis who is patiently waiting for her first win on the LPGA Tour. Christina Kim is also still vying for her first win of 2005. Although we see her name placing high up on the leaderboard, we have yet to see Christina finish strong on a Sunday.

And don’t forget the Asian contingency. Prior Office Depot winner Se Ri Pak will be in attendance as well as Jimin Kang, Birdie Kim and Jeong Jang. The latter three have all won on tour this season while veteran Pak is still hoping to make some magic happen this season. These golfers are all consistent and confident and pose a threat on any given day so don’t count them out.

Lorena Ochoa is also in the final field. Even though Ochoa won a tournament this year at the Wegman’s in June, she had several missed opportunities earlier in the season at the Mastercard Classic, the Safeway and the Corona Morelia. Several top-ten finishes after the Wegman’s, Lorena is hoping that this time she’ll be ready to put together three good scores in three days of action and take her second trophy of the year.

It would be remiss of me not to include British veteran Laura Davies in the mix of potential winners. Davies is second on the LET Money list behind Annika and can crush a drive over 300 yards. C’mon Laura, put all parts of your game together, practice your putting and take home a trophy this year on the LPGA tour!

Donald Trump and Golf: A Perfect Combination

Donald Trump is an avid golfer. Aside from the fact that he usually scores in the 70’s, he also enjoys incorporating golf into his business structure and features his courses on his television show, “The Apprentice”.

Mr. Trump has successfully built some of the most beautiful and challenging courses around the world. Trump National in Rancho Palos Verdes is no exception. The 6017-yard 72-hole layout is a magnificent oceanfront layout along California’s coastline. And in larger than life fashion Trump has designed both a stately 45,000 square foot clubhouse as well as a luxurious skybox called the Champion’s Chalet which overlooks both the 18th hole as well as the Pacific Ocean.

I happen to live very close to Trump National Golf Course in Briarcliff Manor, New York, and I understand through both neighbors and my husband who has played the course (I have not yet been fortunate to play it) that it’s quite challenging. So Mr.Trump if you regularly read the Sand Trap I would love to review Trump National Westchester as well as be able to stand near that very expensive and beautiful waterfall feature on the 13th hole while I tee off…

Mr.Trump will also be hosting the ADT Championship (the final LPGA event of the year) at Trump International in West Palm Beach, Florida. As Mr. Trump says (and I agree with wholeheartedly) the Office Depot tournament this weekend represents “pro golf at its finest.”

The Golf Channel will televise the Office Depot Campionship live from Trump National Golf Course on September 30th and October 1st and 2nd from 4:30 – 7:00pm (ET).

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