Competition increases for coveted places in 2008 Lexus Cup
American Angela Stanford overcame 132 LPGA players at the famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, to take her second career victory at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic. Stanford played brilliantly over the four days of the tournament to finish ahead of the chasing pack. Her two closest competitors were Shanshan Feng from China who finished one shot behind at 11-under and Kim Hall from the United States who finished three shots behind at 8-under par.
The US$1.4 million Bell Micro LPGA Classic was a good showing for the eight year Tour veteran. With four top ten finishes in her twenty-one starts this season, Stanford is making a case for being selected to Team International for the Lexus Cup 2008. The victory boosts her Rolex Ranking position by 11 places to 20th (as of 15th September 2008). Stanford played for Team International in 2006 and will be hoping to join her fellow Team International players again.
After her victory Stanford said of her win “I'm more relieved than excited. I'm sure I'll be excited later, but just relieved that I did it again. I honestly believe the second time is harder, because the first time you don't really know it's happening when it happens, and then you just try to do it again. You try to duplicate it, and I've been trying, and probably too hard a lot. So it feels good.”
Tour rookie Shanshan Feng finished a career best second this weekend. Feng is the only current Tour player from China and impressed the fans by recording an eagle in each round of the Bell Micro LPGA Classic. Feng will definitely be someone to look out for in future Lexus Cups if her current form continues. With this performance, Feng jumped 71 places on the official Rolex LPGA Rankings and is currently ranked 85th (as of 15th September 2008). Perhaps Se Ri Pak will consider her as a potential captain’s pick.
When asked about her second place finish, Feng replied “I was pretty nervous at the last hole because I had a chance to win, but I had to make a birdie. And I hit a very great shot, just three feet by the hole, and I made it. So I was really happy, but I know that was what I could do already. I tried my best.”
Lexus Cup veterans Cristie Kerr and Suzann Petterson displayed their talents over the weekend and have a strong chance of being selected for Team International again. Kerr who claimed victory at the Safeway Classic two weeks ago held the lead going into the final two days, before slipping off the pace and finished tied tenth along with Petterson and four others. Petterson comes with a wealth of Lexus Cup experience having been selected for Team International in 2005 and 2007. She currently lies forth in the Rolex LPGA Rankings (as of 15th September 2008).
Team Asia contenders also did well with four players finishing in the top 10. Runner up Feng and Hee Young Park from Korea, who finished tied forth, along with In-Kyung Kim who finished tied seventh and H. J Choi who finished tied tenth are also attracting attention. Captain Se Ri Pak will be happy to have so many talented Asian players coming through on the Tour for her to consider. With the Lexus Cup fast approaching, Pak will need to balance her team with a mix of fresh young talent as well as experienced.
The Lexus Cup makes its return to Singapore from the 28th till 30th of November. The tournament will be held at the illustrious Singapore Island Country Club, Bukit Location. The tournament pits Team Asia against Team International, over three exciting days of match play golf in foursomes, fourballs and singles.
The 2008 Lexus Cup is officially sanctioned by the LPGA as its season-ending event. Selection for places in both the International and Asian teams is based on the Rolex Women's World Rankings and the LPGA Official Money List, along with captain's picks and sponsors exemptions. Team Captains Annika Sorenstam and Se-Ri Pak will lead the teams of 12 players over the three-day tournament, competing in fourball, foursomes and singles.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty images