AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
ALABAMA: Maria Hjorth heads back to a place that holds special memories while Lexi Thompson will be hoping to avoid another final-round meltdown at the LPGA's Mobile Classic which begins Thursday.
Sweden's Hjorth captured the event last year at the Magnolia Grove golf club by firing a final round 67 to beat 54-hole leaders Kim Song-hee of South Korea and American teenager Lexi Thompson.
"It's always great to be back at a place where you've won and defending is always special," said Hjorth, who won the then-Avnet LPGA Classic with her husband Shaun McBride acting as her caddie.
"There's obviously a lot of memories that come back. You go out there and play and you see a lot of shots that you hit last year and you still see a lot of putts that you made from the tournament.
"And obviously a lot of great memories with my husband on the bag so it was a nice family get together for the week. Having a win as well was even more amazing."
It marked the fifth career win for Hjorth, who has gotten off to a slow start to 2012. Her best finish was a tie for 25th at the Singapore LPGA tournament. She has missed the cut in two of a half dozen tournaments this year.
"I feel pretty good about my game and I've worked hard on it, especially my putting," Hjorth said. "Hopefully it will come together. I feel it's very close, and coming out here and having good memories, hopefully that will bring my game up a little bit and have a good finish."
Thomspon returns to the scene of a major collapse in which she shared the lead heading into the fourth round but then shot a closing 78 to finish in 19th place.
Thompson, who turned 17 in February, said she still has a lot of learning to do before she can win consistently on the Tour.
Five months after her disappointment in Mobile, she went out and won the Navistar LPGA Classic in Montgomery, Alabama, becoming the youngest LPGA Tour winner at age 16.
"It was disappointing. It took me a few days to get over it," she said. "But I learned so much from that Sunday by not winning, so much more probably than if I had won."
Hjorth and Thompson won't have to worry about two of the top players on the Tour this week because Taiwan's Yani Tseng and Ai Miyazato of Japan are skipping the event.