LPGA will return to Los Angeles for March 21-27 event at Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms, featuring 22 of the top 25 players in the world
(MARCH 15, 2011 – CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif.) – The final field has been set for the Kia Classic, and befitting the LPGA’s return to the Los Angeles area for the first time in six years, the tournament is packed with star power.
Rolex Rankings World No. 1 Yani Tseng and World No. 2 Jiyai Shin lead a major-championship-caliber field into the March 21-27 tournament at Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms. The field features all of the top 10 and 22 of the top 25 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, including the defending champions of all four LPGA majors.
“This field is truly spectacular,” tournament director Dennis Baggett said. “Nearly every top player in the world will be here, and we expect a tremendously competitive tournament because of that. We’re excited about the opportunity to showcase the LPGA to the great fans of Southern California.”
The 144-player field for the Kia Classic includes 2010 Rolex Player of the Year Tseng and Shin as well as top American Cristie Kerr, 2010 leading money winner Na Yeon Choi, American favorites Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lincicome, global stars Suzann Pettersen and Ai Miyazato, and many other great stars of the LPGA.
The field also includes defending champion Hee Kyung Seo and sponsor exemptions Shasta Averyhardt (the fourth African-American player ever to earn LPGA membership), Blair O’Neal (who appeared in last month’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in an ad for Cobra PUMA golf) and Julie Yang, a top Korean amateur.
Two players will also earn spots into the field via an open qualifier on Monday, March 21.
Tseng, the 2010 Rolex Player of the Year, won two major championships last season – the Kraft Nabisco Championship and RICOH Women’s British Open – and needs only a U.S. Women’s Open win to complete the career Grand Slam.
Shin is an eight-time LPGA winner who earned her first major championship victory at the 2008 RICOH Women’s British Open before joining the tour full-time in 2009, when she was awarded Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors.
Kerr, the top-ranked American player at No. 5 in the Rolex Rankings, owns 14 career victories and has won two major championships, including her record-breaking 12-stroke victory at last year’s LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans.
Choi finished the 2010 season atop the money list, winning twice and logging 15 top-10 finishes in 22 events.
Wie notched her first career victory late in the 2009 season, then added win No. 2 at the 2010 CN Canadian Women’s Open. Despite playing just 18 tournaments last year while balancing her course load as a full-time student at Stanford, she had five top-10 finishes and was ninth on the money list.
Creamer is a nine-time winner on the LPGA who finally broke through last year with her first victory in a major championship. She won the U.S. Women’s Open despite missing significant time due to a thumb injury.
Pressel is a two-time winner on the LPGA who won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2007, her second full season on tour.
Lincicome is among the LPGA’s biggest hitters, averaging 266 yards per drive last season. She is a three-time winner, and won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2009.
The Kia Classic – which brings the LPGA back to the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles for the first time in six years – will feature a full field of 144 LPGA players battling for a $1.7 million purse at the tournament’s new host venue, Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms. Tournament week is scheduled for March 21-27 and will feature a qualifier and practice rounds Monday, practice rounds Tuesday, a pro-am Wednesday and four competitive rounds Thursday-Sunday.
Tickets and more information are available at www.kiaclassic.com or by calling 1-888-SEE-LPGA. Advance prices for daily grounds passes are just $10 for Wednesday’s pro-am day, $20 per day for competition rounds and $50 for weekly grounds passes. Children 17 and under will receive free admission to the Kia Classic when accompanied by a paid adult, and active military members and their families will be admitted free with military ID.
Kia Classic fans can follow the tournament through social media. The Kia Classic’s Facebook page (Kia Classic) and Twitter feed (@LPGAKiaClassic) allow fans to keep up on pre-tournament and tournament-week news, see exclusive photos and enter various contests for the chance to Kia Classic tickets and other prizes.