The season’s first major championship is on the line this week and all eyes are on Yani Tseng to see if she can continue her impressive run.
Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. plays host to the season’s first major – the Kraft Nabisco Championship – for the 41st time beginning Thursday.
Stacy Lewis became a Rolex First-Time Winner last season in the California Desert after defeating Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng by three strokes. Lewis fired a 3-under 69 in the final round and made the ceremonial leap into Poppie’s Pond with her caddie, her parents and her sister. Lewis became the fourth player in LPGA history to record her first career LPGA victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship along with Helen Alfredsson (1993), Nancy Bowen (1995) and Morgan Pressel (2007). Lewis went on to record 10 additional top-10 finishes last season.
2010 Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Tseng also returns to the course this week after earning her 15th career victory and third of the year at the Kia Classic, tying Sallie Little on the LPGA All-Time Wins list. She increased her earnings to $8,333,269 and moved to 13th on the career money list.
Tseng is seeking her sixth major championship title this week and is one of only three players – Karrie Webb (7) and Se Ri Pak (5) are the others – with five major victories in this week’s field. She has won six of her last 12 LPGA starts dating back to September 2011.
Rolex Rankings No. 12 Shanshan Feng is a player who enters the Kraft Nabisco on a hot streak having recorded her third top-5 finish of the season last week with a tie for third alongside with Rolex Rankings No. 8 Jiyai Shin. Feng also became the first player from Mainland China to win on the Ladies European Tour in March.
The Kraft Nabisco Championship began as a 54-hole event in 1972 with Jane Blalock as its first winner firing a 3-under par 213. The tournament became one of the four LPGA “majors” in 1983 with Amy Alcott securing the first major championship by two strokes from Beth Daniel and Kathy Whitworth.
Other past champions in the field this week include Pat Hurst (1998), Webb (2000, 2006), Grace Park (2004), Morgan Pressel (2007) and Brittany Lincicome (2009).