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Last 3 champs paired at U.S. Women's Open

The last three winners of the U.S. Women's Open have been paired together for the first two rounds of this year's championship, which begins on Thursday.

The USGA announced on Friday that So Yeon Ryu, who defeated Hee Kyung Seo by three strokes in a 3-hole aggregate playoff last year at The Broadmoor, will play with 2010 champion Paula Creamer and 2009 winner Eun-Hee Ji. The trio will start the first round on the 10th tee at 9:06 a.m. (et) at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisc.

Playing opposite that trio on the first tee will be Natalie Gulbis, Lee-Anne Pace and Danielle Kang. Now a professional, Kang won the last two U.S. Women's Amateur titles.

Angela Stanford, who lost in a playoff in 2003, will play alongside Azahara Munoz and I.K. Kim, who shared third in 2008 and 2009. They will start at 9:17 a.m. on the first tee.

Morgan Pressel, who shared second as an amateur in 2005, is paired with Ai Miyazato and LPGA Championship winner Shanshan Feng at 9:28 a.m. off the 10th.

Anna Nordqvist, the 2009 LPGA Champion, will play with Amy Yang, who has back- to-back top 10s at this championship, and Lexi Thompson, who tied for 10th in 2010. They will start on No. 1 at 9:39 a.m.

Two-time champion Juli Inkster is playing her second event after missing the start of the season due to elbow surgery. She starts at 9:50 a.m. with 2009 runner-up Candie Kung and Christel Boeljon.

Four of the top-5 players in the world are among the afternoon wave on Thursday.

World No. 1 Yani Tseng has won five major championships, but is still looking for her first win at this event. She starts on No. 1 at 2:58 p.m. with Na Yeon Choi and Suzann Pettersen, world Nos. 4 and 5. Choi and Pettersen shared second behind Creamer in 2010.

At the same time on the 10th, 2007 champion Cristie Kerr will play alongside Sun Young Yoo and world No.2 Stacy Lewis, the last two Kraft Nabisco winners.

Karrie Webb, the last repeat winner in 2000-01, is paired with Chella Choi and Brittany Lincicome. They will begin at 2:36 p.m. on No. 10.

Seo, last year's runner-up, will play with Vicky Hurst and Caroline Hedwall off the 10th at 2:47 p.m.

On the first tee at the same time, Michelle Wie starts with Jihee Lee and Brittany Lang, who earned her first LPGA title last week. Wie shared third in 2006 and Lang, as an amateur, tied for second with Pressel in 2005.