EVIAN, France (AP) – Forget about playing against the men.

Michelle Wie faces one of the toughest fields in women’s golf when the $3 million Evian Masters starts today.

The 78-player field includes the world’s top-30 ranked players and four who have won twice this season: Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Karrie Webb and Mi Hyun Kim.

Earlier this month, the 16-year-old Wie attempted to become the first woman in 61 years to make the cut on the PGA Tour. But she was 8 over and withdrew from the John Deere Classic in Illinois during the second round because of heat exhaustion.

Wie suggested she’s taking it easier this time, still trying to win her first tournament as a professional.

“I need my rest and I have learned my lesson,” she said. “I have practiced as hard as I can and I am playing as hard as I can and if it happens, then it happens.”

Wie said her approach changes little, regardless of who she is playing.

“I go in with the same mind-set,” she said. “I don’t stress a lot on the tournament, but every tournament is basically the same.”

Sorenstam has won this event twice. She said she received a text message Sunday from Tiger Woods, reminding her of his win in the British Open for his 11th major.

“He let me know he won another major, in case I did not know,” said the Swede, who has 10 major titles of her own.

Sorenstam said she is preparing for the heat, and a hilly course set in one of Europe’s most scenic spots.

“This is one of the most wonderful places in the world and is definitely one of the highlights of our schedule,” she said.

Paula Creamer won the event last season by eight strokes over Ochoa and Wie. The victory was her second on the LPGA Tour and cemented her reputation as one of the game’s best players.

The victory made Creamer the youngest – and the quickest in LPGA history – to win more than $1 million in a season. She’s still looking for her first win this year.

Ochoa, the LPGA’s top money winner this season, is excited to play in this event.

“I love playing here,” Ochoa said of the 6,192-yard course. “I think I have a good chance to play well and win the tournament.”

AP-ES-07-25-06 1213EDT

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