The LPGA Tour makes its way to Taiwan for the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship this week where Suzann Pettersen will try for a second straight week to mount a title defense during the Asia swing. The Norwegian won last year’s event in Taiwan by five strokes over Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park and six strokes over 2011 defending champion and then-No. 1 Yani Tseng. The win came just one week after she claimed the LPGA KEB·HanaBank Championship. Last week Pettersen fell just shy of a title defense in Korea, as she finished tied for third.
Pettersen has enjoyed a stellar 2013 season so far with 13 top-10 finishes including three victories. The 32-year-old has strung together nine top-10 finishes in the past 10 events, which also includes back-to-back victories at the Safeway Classic and the Evian Championship. Over the past month, she has narrowed the gap in the Rolex Player of the Year race, and is now only 68 points behind No. 1 Inbee Park.
While Park hasn’t broken into the winner’s circle since her victory at the U.S. Women’s Open in June, her impressive 2013 campaign includes six tournament wins with three of them coming in major championships.
Taiwanese star and No. 25 Yani Tseng will be welcomed by the excited hometown crowd at the Sunrise Golf & Country Club. Tseng was the inaugural winner at the event during the 2011 season in which she produced seven victories and earned Rolex Player of the Year honors. With a third place finish last year, Tseng said she always enjoys playing for a championship title in her home country.
“I feel pretty excited,” said Tseng. “It’s been a year and I love to see all the fans out there supporting me and the LPGA. It’s such a great event and I know the course pretty well. It’s pretty fun having the players come to Taiwan and show them where my home town is. I’m very happy to go back there to play in front of my country.”
The 78-player field will compete over four days for a $2 million purse and a $300,000 first-place prize. Tournament coverage will air in the U.S. on Golf Channel from noon to 3:00 p.m. EST each day.