LINCOLN, Calif. -- Nobody has to tell Se Ri Pak how tough it's going to be stopping Annika Sorenstam.
Pak shot one of the best four-round totals in LPGA Tour history last month in Phoenix but still couldn't derail the game's hottest player.
Still, many believe the burden of ending Sorenstam's winning streak rests on the shoulders of Pak and Karrie Webb. Since Webb is not playing in the Long's Drugs Challenge this week at Twelve Bridges Golf Club, all eyes are on Pak.
The South Korean got off to a good start with a 6-under-par 66 Thursday in a first round marred by cold, blustery winds, periodic heavy rains and a 50-minute suspension of play because of dangerous weather late in the afternoon.
Pak has a two-stroke lead over Michele Redman and is three shots ahead of Pam Kerrigan and Rachel Teske.
Sorenstam, gunning for the LPGA Tour record of five consecutive victories, shot 73 and is tied for 31st. But while most of golfing is paying attention to what Sorenstam is doing, Pak prefers to focus only on herself.
"I want to win," she said. "Not to beat Annika, just to win the tournament."
Pak shot 65-68-63-67 when she finished second to Sorenstam last month in Phoenix by two shots -- a victim of Sorenstam's single-round tour record 59 in the second round. Pak's 25-under at Phoenix would have been enough to win all but two tournaments in the history of the LPGA Tour. Unfortunately for Pak, one of those tournaments was the one in which she shot it.
Pak, one of only four players other than Sorenstam who has won in nine tournaments this season, rejects the notion that she must stop Sorenstam.
"I think every player can (beat Annika)," Pak said. "I know I'm one player, and Webbie (Karrie Webb) can too, but I don't want to give myself the pressure to beat Annika."
Sorenstam, whose only birdie Thursday came on the par-three fourth hole, said she is not concerned with her position.
"It's too early," Sorenstam said. "I feel good about my game, and when you feel good about your game, you can't worry."
Loose iron play hampered Sorenstam Thursday. She had few opportunities to make birdies, often times facing putts of 30 feet or longer, but she hopes to turn that around Friday.
"It's only Thursday, and it's a four-day tournament," she said. "It's a long way from over. I've got an early tee time (Friday) -- I've got to go low."
Pat Hurst, whose final-round collapse last week enabled Sorenstam to overcome a 10-stroke deficit, rebounded with a 70 and is tied for fifth.
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