Countdown to the Women's Open

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:04 PM ET

The London Hunt and Country Club is site of the championship Aug. 10-13. The field of LPGA players and about 20 Canadian qualifiers will compete for a purse of $1.7 million US -- one of the largest on the tour.

Big name

American Cristie Kerr, one of the LPGA Tour's top players with eight top-10 finishes and $620,000 in winnings this year, has joined the field. Kerr, who lives in Miami, has six career victories, including last year's Michelob Open and Wendy's Championship. Kerr has played on the tour since 1997. Tournament director Sean Van Kesteren said 16 players have made verbal commitments to play in London. The field includes big-name players such as Morgan Pressel, Juli Inkster, Se Ri Pak, Lorie Kane and Natalie Gulbis.

Van Kesteren hopes to announce more names next week.

LPGA money

The top 10: Lorena Ochoa $1,204,987, Karrie Webb $1,129,786, Mi Hyun Kim $794,770, Hee-Won Han $758,908, Seon Hwa Lee $715,411, Annika Sorenstam $651,614, Jeong Jang $650,081, Kerr $620,501, Inkster $561,036, Meena Lee $410,905.

Kane is 82nd with $63,718 from 13 events.

World match play

Sorenstam and Michelle Wie topped the automatic qualifiers for the HSBC women's world match play championship next week in Gladstone, N.J. The top-ranked Sorenstam, No. 2 Wie and the rest of the top 30 players in the world rankings earned the first spots in the 64-player field. Kane failed to qualify, but received one of two sponsor's exemption along with Laura Davies.

ESPY finalist

Dakoda Dowd already challenged the LPGA's best. Now, she's about to take on Kobe Bryant. Two months after playing in the LPGA Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open as a tribute to her terminally ill mother, the 13-year-old prodigy and her mom are ESPY award finalists, along with Bryant and two others in the "best moment" category. Her mother, Kelly Jo Dowd, has bone and liver cancer and said seeing her daughter play on the LPGA Tour was her last wish -- prompting organizers to give the then-12-year-old an exemption into the event.


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