0

Inkster hopes for repeat

By Anthony Rhoads

It hasn't exactly been a banner year for Juli Inkster so far in the 2003 LPGA season.

In five events this year, she has tied for 11th twice and has one 20th-place finish she missed the cut in the Safeway PING and in last week's Takefuji Classic, she tied for 51st.

"This season so far has been kind of slow starting off," she said. "I feel like I'm playing about 16 holes pretty good, two not so good, struggling with my putting, but it's starting to make a turn."

Inkster is confident she can turn things around this weekend at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship, an event she won last year.

"I feel like I can get up there and win some tournaments," she said. "I feel the best I've ever felt in my golf game. It's just a matter of putting it all together."

Last year at the Chick-fil-A, she brought her ?A' game and won the rain-shortened event at 12-under par.

"I have good feelings coming back here," Inkster said. "I love the golf course and the way it plays. I'm looking forward to this week."

Last year, she closed out the Chick-fil-A in dramatic fashion with an eagle to beat Kelly Robbins by two strokes.

Inkster still has fond memories of her 27th LPGA victory.

"I hit the ball really well," Inkster said. "I hit the par 3s well; I putted well. It was a great finish. I think I was playing well enough to win. A win is a win."

Inkster added that she wouldn't mind the tournament going to a four-round, 72-hole event.

"This golf course and tournament is run well," she said. "I would love to see it go to 72. I just think 72 holes is a true tournament test."

Thoughts on Annika: Annika Sorenstam, the most dominant player on the LPGA Tour, is causing quite a stir with her decision to play in the Colonial in the PGA Tour.

Inkster said she supports Sorenstam and thinks what she is doing is good for women's golf.

"I think what she's doing is phenomenal," Inkster said. "I don't think it's a gender thing. She wants to see how she competes against the best players in the world. It's rare for a player to peak and want to get better and see how good they can get."

Sorenstam, the 2001 Chick-fil-A winner, won't be playing in this year's tournament.

Repeat winner this year?: Since the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship began in 1992, the tournament has had no repeat winners.

But if her past record is any indication, Inkster could have a chance to successfully defend her title.

She has won nine LPGA tournaments more than once and has successfully defended five tournaments.

By the end of the day Sunday, Inkster hopes to add the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship to the list.

"Golf is funny. One shot here, one putt here and you're off for the year. But you know, I kind of evaluate my year after, for the next year after I get done playing for the year," she said.