(Evian-les-Bains, France, July 22 2003) World number one Annika Sorenstam from Sweden makes a welcome return to Europe as she sets out to defend the $2.1million Evian Masters on the sun-kissed banks above Lake Geneva on the French-Swiss border.

Lebouc – expecting first child

However, with the world’s finest golfers assembled and ready to go over the 6171-yards of beautifully landscaped botanical gardens which, at times masquerades as a golf course, this is not a one woman show like Colonial.

Sorenstam will have a preponderance of challengers to her title, among them her compatriots and former winners Helen Alfredsson and Solheim Cup captain Catrin Nilsmark.

Also likely to be in the shake-up come Sunday evening, another Swede, Maria Hjorth, who owns an exemplary record around here with two second place finishes in as many seasons.

Rachel Teske, winner here in 2001 is likely to be a contender along with fellow Australian Karrie Webb and the Korean might of Se Ri Pak, Mi Hyun Kim and the Evian Masters ambassador Grace Park.

The tenth edition of this tournament also boasts each of this years major winners, including Sorenstam. For those not au fait, Hilary Lunke from America, the surprise US Women’s Open champion three weeks ago, makes her first visit to Evian.

But Patricia Meunier Lebouc, winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship is certainly no stranger here and announced that she has all but achieved her goals she penned at the start of 2003.

“Well, I wanted to win two tournaments on the LPGA and I won a major – I’m not sure how many that should count as, but that’s one goal down,” said Lebouc, who came into her press conference accompanied by husband Antoine.

“I’ve given myself a good chance of making a captain’s pick for The Solheim Cup, there’s another goal and we’ll be expecting our first child next February!”