More stars are confirmed for ‘Asia’s Major’
Singapore, – The HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore next month will attract the strongest field of golfers ever seen at an Asian tournament. The 78 player line-up is missing only three of the active players in the world’s top 40, and will include every available winner from the 2008 LPGA season and every Major winner over the past three years currently playing.
The 2009 LPGA season teed-off last week in Hawaii but already the star players are setting their sights on ‘Asia’s Major’ from 5th – 8th March at Tanah Merah Country Club (TMCC).
Tournament organisers today announced that in total 35 of the world’s top 40 players will compete for the US$2million prize purse, much to the delight of the title sponsors.
“Our goal when we created the HSBC Champions “brand” was to bring world-class golf to Asia. No one can doubt that we have achieved that now,” declared HSBC’s Group Head of Sponsorship Giles Morgan.
“Padraig Harrington has described the creation of our Shanghai tournament as the turning point for men’s golf in Asia and I think Sergio Garcia winning the HSBC Champions last year to become world number two proved the world-class pedigree. Now we have virtually every great female player in the world today coming to Singapore for the HSBC Women’s Champions, and of course the world number one is defending her title. It’s a credit to Singapore and to everyone involved that the tournament has been embraced so quickly by the stars.”
This list of entrants includes America's Angela Stanford and Australian Katherine Hull who are among the hottest players on the planet at the moment.
The 31-year-old Stanford won last weekend's LPGA season-opener - the SBS Open - to record her third win in seven LPGA events. Stanford burst into form last September, winning the Bell Micro LPGA Classic, winning again at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational and finishing no worse than sixth in her other four events at the back end of the season.
“I’m coming off a fantastic year and I’m hopeful my momentum continues to place me in contention to win. I look forward to competing in Singapore in early March. The HSBC Women’s Champions attracts the best players in the world and a victory at this prestigious event would be treasured...….it’s on everyone’s priority list!” said Angela Stanford
Hull, who won the CN Canadian Open and had another six top-ten finishes last year, leaped five places up to 21st in the World Rankings after her victory two weekends ago in the European and Australian Tours' co-sanctioned ANZ Masters.
“The HSBC is an awesome tournament, it’s a great golf course and it’s one of the strongest fields in golf. I’m looking forward to contending there. This is a huge confidence booster because in the past I haven’t always started the year so well,” the 26-year-old Hull said.
The Korean stars continue to have a strong presence amongst the golfing elite with Seon Hwa Lee (10th), Eun-Hee Ji (14th), Jee Young Lee (15th) and Hee-Won Han (16th) all joining 2008 Major winners and leaders of the “Dragon Ladies” age group Inbee Park and Jiyai Shin in next month’s battle for the champion’s crown.
Seon Hwa Lee tied with Stanford for 12th position last year and went on to take victories at the Ginn Tribute Hosted by ANNIKA and the P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship Presented by John Q. Hammons.
She said, "I always enjoy coming back to Asia to compete and I especially enjoy playing in Singapore. I have fond memories from winning the 2007 HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship and I would dearly love to add the HSBC Women's Champions title to those memories."
Joining the elite field at Asia’s richest female golfing event will be local amateur Joey Poh. Poh came out on top of 13 other hopefuls in a two-day qualifying tournament last week at TMCC and she will now represent Singapore in the main event next month. Joey is also currently a student of the HSBC Youth Golfers Excellence Programme.
“Having the world’s top players showing their support and commitment to the second edition of the HSBC Women’s Champions is testament to its success last year in Singapore. We are delighted to be hosting an array of talent from across the globe in what has quickly established itself as Asia’s most prestigious event for our female golfers,” commented Robbie Henchman, Senior Vice President, IMG.
The qualification criteria mirrors that of the men’s HSBC Champions, with winners from around the world invited to compete for the coveted “Champion of Champions” title. Winners on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour, leading money winners from the Japan Ladies Professional Golf Association (JLPGA), Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour, Ladies European Tour (LET), Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG), Duramed FUTURES Tour, Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT) and the top player from the continent of Africa all qualify, making this the most international and impressive women’s field ever assembled in Asia.
The HSBC Women’s Champions 2009 will boast a prize money of US$2 million (US$300,000 to the winner), the largest purse for a women’s event in Asia. The HSBC Women’s Champions, sanctioned by the LPGA, will be played over 72 holes of individual stroke play with a field of 78 golfers.
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