An elite field is set to compete at Rio, home of the 2016 Olympic Games
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida, May 23, 2011 - The LPGA returns to Itanhanga Golf Club in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this week for the third annual HSBC Brazil Cup, boasting an international field of 30 players who will compete across 36 holes for a $720,000, unofficial money purse.
Headlining the field will be Rolex Rankings No. 2 Suzann Pettersen and Rolex Rankings No. 4 Cristie Kerr. Pettersen and Kerr are coming off impressive finishes at last week's Sybase Match Play Championship. The two dueled in a head-to-head battle with Pettersen prevailing and Kerr finishing runner-up.
Last year in Brazil, Meaghan Francella defeated Mariajo Uribe in a six-hole playoff to secure her second LPGA victory. Both return to play this week, while 2009 HSBC Brazil Cup Champion Catriona Matthew also is set to compete.
The buzz surrounding this year's tournament inevitably will be unlike any other with golf set to make its Olympic return in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. With 14 different countries represented in this week's field, it will serve as a preview of the international flare and competitive fire that will represent golf in the 2016 Olympics Games.
Brazilians Luciana Bemvenuti, Victoria Alimonda and Maria Iida head into the week as the national favorites. Bemvenuti, the first Brazilian to compete on the LPGA Tour, is from Porto Alegre located 697 miles from Rio de Janiero. Her career-best finish on the LPGA came when she finished tied for fourth at the 1998 Longs Drug Challenge. Alimonda and Iida are both natives of Sao Paolo, Brazil, located about 250 miles from Rio de Janeiro. Iida finished 25th at the 2010 HSBC Brazil Cup while Alimonda will play in her first LPGA event.
|The field as of May 23:|
|Shi Hyun Ahn||Pat Hurst||Azahara Munoz|
|Victoria Alimonda||Vicky Hurst||Hee Young Park|
|Luciana Bemvenuti||Karine Icher||Suzann Pettersen|
|Amanda Blumenherst||Maria Iida||Stacy Prammanasudh|
|Heather Bowie Young||Jimin Kang||Alena Sharp|
|Paz Echeverria||Cristie Kerr||Sarah Jane Smith|
|Meaghan Francella||Christina Kim||Karen Stupples|
|Julieta Granada||Candie Kung||Sofi Toccafondi|
|Maria Hjorth||Brittany Lang||Mariajo Uribe|
|Amy Hung||Catriona Matthew||Lindsey Wright|
The LPGA Futures Tour will be represented this week by Alimonda of Brazil, Paz Echevarria of Chile and Sofi Toccafondi of Argentina. Both Echevarria and Toccafondi are rookies this year while Echevarria is in her second season on the Futures Tour.