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What Maria had to say about getting the sponsors exemption for the P&G Beauty Classic.

"With this being my first LPGA event in the United States, it's exciting, something I want to take advantage of,"
Verchenova said.

Verchenova, who arrived in Northwest Arkansas at 3 a.m. Sunday night after flying from Moscow to Atlanta over the weekend, has been practicing in Germany the last two weeks. To play in this week's event, Verchenova said she's missing three events on the Ladies European Tour — but it's well worth it.

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"This is my goal, I eventually want to play on the LPGA Tour all the time," Verchenova said. "But I'm going to play one more year in Europe and possibly think about (qualifying school) in the future. For now, I'm just trying to play good golf and have fun."

Verchenova spent Monday practicing on the range and playing a round with her caddie, Todd Dunnaway. She said she liked Pinnacle Country Club's renovated course and felt she had a chance to be a serious competitor this weekend.

A new yardage book even had to be made for Verchenova on Monday because she didn't understand the yardages — she wanted the lengths in meters.



"I looked at my yardage book and I was all confused, I only understand the metric system," Verchenova said.

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