Haikou hosting golf's top women
Updated: 2014-03-06 07:20
By Tym Glaser (China Daily)
Four of the world's top six female golfers are spearheading a strong international field at the World Ladies Championship, which tees off on Thursday at Mission Hills, Haikou, Hainan province.
Leading the charge for individual and team honors in the multi-faceted event is South Korea's world No 1 Park In-bee, defending champion and world No 2 Suzann Pettersen of Norway, Park's teammate Ryu So-yeon (No 5) and China's Feng Shanshan (No 6).
"I had a fantastic time last year, so I am thrilled to be returning to Mission Hills Haikou for this year's event," Park, last year's runner-up by a stroke in the individual competition, told the event's official website.
"I obviously want to go one better this year and, of course, I will be aiming to successfully defend the team title for Korea," she said.
Standing squarely in her path is Pettersen, who claimed four LPGA titles last season including the year's final major, the Evian Championship.
"I have great memories of my victory at Mission Hills Haikou as it kicked off a brilliant year for me, so I am delighted to be returning to defend my title," Pettersen said.
Long-hitting Feng, Chinese mainland's first major championship winner, is also likely to be prominent on the leaderboard through the four days on the massive 7,808-yard, par-73 Blackstone course.
The $600,000 event - co-sanctioned by the China LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour - features three elements: an individual pro competition, a professional team (two-a-side) event and an amateur championship.
"We believe this three-in-one format is hugely attractive to players and sponsors and is extremely beneficial for the women's game in general," said Tenniel Chu, Mission Hills Group deputy chairman.
"We are especially proud that the amateur championship possesses a truly global nature with up-and-coming players traveling from all over the world to learn from and play alongside the greats of the game."
(China Daily 03/06/2014 page23)