Fourth edition of ‘Asia’s Major’ to feature an increased prize purse
Singapore, 20 October 2010 – Japan’s Ai Miyazato, winner of the 2010 HSBC Women’s Champions and current world No.1 on the Rolex Rankings, confirmed today that she will return to defend her title at the Tanah Merah Country Club (TMCC) from 24 to 27 February 2011.
The 2011 edition of the tournament known as ‘Asia’s Major’ will see the field competing for the coveted ‘Champion of Champion’s’ title and an increased prize fund of US$1.4 million. The 2010 HSBC Women’s Champions attracted the strongest field ever seen in Asia, with the top 20 players from the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking and the top 55 players from the 2009 LPGA official money list in the field.
Players can qualify for the HSBC Women’s Champions 2011 by winning tournaments on the LPGA Tour or finishing the year in the Top 20 on the Rolex Rankings (as at December 31, 2010). This carefully-crafted qualification criteria will ensure that the world’s best players are in the field which will also include two sponsors’ invitations, of which one will be the winner of a two-day local qualifying tournament for Singaporean amateur and professionals to be held early next year.
Ai Miyazato reclaimed the top spot in women’s professional golf in August this year after clinching the LPGA Safeway Classic on 22 August 2010 and currently leads the race for this year’s Rolex Player of the Year award. Having turned professional in October 2003, Miyazato has notably claimed five of her six Tour wins this year whilst Cristie Kerr and Yani Tseng are the only other LPGA players with more than one victory thus far.
She opened the 2010 season with two consecutive wins at the Honda PTT LPGA Thailand and the HSBC Women’s Champions here in February after defeating Cristie Kerr by two strokes - the first player in 44 years to accomplish such a feat. Miyazato continued her strong form with additional victories at the Tres Marias Championship and the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
In 2009, Miyazato was a measure of consistency, having made the cut for all 22 events that she played in and achieving a personal best of 13 thirteen top-10 finishes along the way. She also became a Rolex First-time Winner at the 2009 Evian Masters presented and crossed the US$3-million mark in career earnings.
Expressing her eagerness to return to Singapore for the event next year, Miyazato said, “I am very excited about returning to Singapore to defend my title. It was very special for me to win the HSBC Women’s Champions earlier this year and I have gone on from there to have the most amazing season. I could not have dreamt that I would win so many titles this year and reach the number one ranking in the world. I am really determined to defend my HSBC Women’s Champions title in February.”
Alex Hungate, CEO, HSBC Singapore said: “Ai Miyazato was a fantastic champion this year and we are looking forward to welcoming her back to Singapore. The quality of the field is what makes the HSBC Women’s Champions stand out above the rest and it is a week our staff and clients look forward to very much each year.
Giles Morgan, Group Head of Sponsorship, HSBC Holdings, added, “The HSBC Women’s Champions has established itself as one of the premier tournaments of the LPGA season and it is highly popular amongst players, spectators, HSBC customers and golf fans around the globe. As our global golf programme continues to strengthen, this tournament is a shining example of the effectiveness of golf sponsorship to our business and brand.”
“Ai Miyazato is having a stunning season this year and as the No.1 in the Rolex Rankings, we are naturally very pleased to announce her return to the tournament next year. The field for this tournament has grown stronger over the years, as has the level of competition in ladies’ golf and we are certainly looking forward to an even more successful HSBC Women’s Champions in 2011”, added Robbie Henchman, Senior Vice President of IMG.
Further details on the HSBC Women’s Champions 2011 and on additional star players who have confirmed their participation in the event in Singapore will be announced in the coming weeks.
Courtois Straight Through to the Semis
– Pauline Courtois leads after first day