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Sorenstam to Compete at Dubai Golf Event

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ The LPGA European Tour is heading to the Middle East for the first time, and Annika Sorenstam will be there to compete for the title.

The Dubai Ladies Masters, which starts Thursday at the Emirates Golf Club's Majlis course, is the tour's season-ending event.

Sorenstam has won three LPGA titles this year, including the U.S. Women's Open. Karrie Webb and Gwladys Nocera are also in the field of the $629,000 event.

``With Karrie and Gwladys here this week, it will be a tough competition,'' Sorenstam said Wednesday. ``But I am hoping to be the one who lifts the trophy on Sunday.''

The 36-year-old Swede, who owns 69 career victories, made some adjustments to her game halfway through the season. Her titles are down this season, after averaging nine a year since 2001

``I was not very happy with some of the mistakes I was making in the middle of tournaments,'' she said. ``I went back to Sweden and worked hard on my game, and found that I was over-swinging a bit. So I shortened my swing, and I am pretty pleased with the results after that.''

Sorenstam is vying with Lorena Ochoa of Mexico for the LPGA player of the year and money titles.

Webb said the Bermuda grass on the Majlis course should work to her advantage.

``I have virtually grown up on Bermuda grass back home in Australia and am very comfortable playing on it,'' Webb said. ``I think this tournament is going to be decided on the greens, which are a bit grainy.''

The 31-year-old Australian has four wins this year, including the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she eagled the final hole to force her way into a playoff.

Nocera will have to win the tournament and the $94,000 first prize to win the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit. Laura Davies, who is not playing this week, leads Nocera by $80,700.

``It would be great if I can win the Order of Merit, and ahead of Laura, who has been my childhood idol,'' Nocera said. ``But I am not even thinking of the title right now.''
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