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Second-Annual Kia Performance Awards Recognize LPGA Performance, Community Involvement

Lewis, Smith, Recari and Kerr top the categories and receive 2014 Kia Cadenzas

NAPLES, FLORIDA, November 21, 2013 – Four LPGA Tour pros are now proud owners of 2014 Kia Cadenza premium sedans in honor of their outstanding performances on-and-off the course throughout the 2013 season.  Stacy Lewis, Nicole Smith, Beatriz Recari and Cristie Kerr were given keys to Kia’s highly praised Cadenza premium sedan for their accomplishments in statistical, performance and community categories detailed below.

“The Kia Performance Awards are an integral part of the relationship between Kia and the LPGA as they recognize outstanding achievements by some of the best golfers in the world,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing & communications, Kia Motors America. “As one of the fastest growing car companies in the U.S. over the past five years, we are pleased to offer the 2014 Cadenza, Kia’s highly praised premium sedan, to the Kia Performance Awards winners for their accomplishments on-and-off the golf course.”

Stacy Lewis earned her second-consecutive Kia Drive to the Top award, which is given to the player with the most top-10 finishes of the season. In 2013, Lewis amassed 17 top-10 finishes in 24 tournaments played through the Mizuno Classic in Japan, which served as the cutoff.  The Texan is coming off a career best 2012 season when she clinched four victories and became the first American since 1994 to win the Rolex Player of the Year honor. Lewis has carried on her relentless performance through 2013 with three tournament wins at the HSBC Women’s Champions, RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup and the RICOH Women’s British Open. She held the Rolex Rankings No. 1 position for four weeks earlier this season and ends the year ranked No. 3 in the world and on the LPGA Official Money List. 

“I'm extremely pleased to have more than 30 top 10 finishes over the last two years as it shows that I have been putting myself in a position to win,” said Stacy Lewis. “Winning the Kia Cadenza is an honor and I hope to continue to achieve new goals next year.”

LPGA Tour rookie Nicole Smith proved to have plenty of power off the tee this season and clinched the Kia Power Drive, awarded to the player with the longest driving average in 2013.  The long-hitting Californian averaged 274.9 yards per drive on the year, nearly five yards more than Lexi Thompson who finished in second place. Smith was a three-year member of the Symetra Tour prior to her rookie season in 2013 and ranked second in driving distance in 2012, ending the season at 269.1 yards. 

“It is such an honor to be recognized for what I do best on the course,” said Smith. “This is just the perfect way to end my first year on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to reaching even more goals in my career. I can’t thank Kia enough for giving me a brand new car and for their continued support of the tour.”

Recari_Beatriz_HS_132x149Beatriz Recari earned the Kia Most Compelling Performance, awarded to a player with an exceptional performance and voted on by fans at LPGA.com and the LPGA’s official Facebook page. She clinched her third-career victory at the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning &O-I when she defeated Paula Creamer by one-shot. Recari’s triumph in Toledo was her second win of the 2013 season after she clinched a playoff victory against I.K. Kim at the Kia Classic in March. This season marked the first time since joining the LPGA Tour in 2010 that the Spaniard captured two victories wins in a single season.

“I am thrilled to win the Kia Most Compelling Performance Award,” said Recari. “This year has been a truly special one for me, with victories at the Kia Classic in March and the Marathon Classic in July, followed by an unbelievable experience at my first Solheim Cup.  It seems only fitting to end such a rewarding season the same way it started back in March – by winning a Kia vehicle.

“I would like to thank all of the fans who voted for me and my partners at Oakley, TaylorMade, Titleist, Language Training Center and Allianz for their continued support of my career.  Of course, this award would not be possible without Kia’s tremendous support of the LPGA and I can’t wait to drive my new Kia Cadenza home to Orlando.”

Other nominees in the Kia Most Compelling Performance category included Yani Tseng, who carded a 9-under 63 at the Honda LPGA Thailand; Stacy Lewis, who captured back-to-back victories at the HSBC Women’s Champions and the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup; Inbee Park, who was nominated twice for winning the two tournaments in April and in June as she etched her name in the history books when she became just the second player in LPGA Tour history to clinch the first three majors of the year; Jennifer Johnson, who broke the tournament record with a 21-under-par 267 total at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic to become the first Rolex First-Time Winner of the season; Caroline Hedwall, who became the first player in Solheim Cup history to go 5-0 in competition; and Suzann Pettersen, who became the first winner of LPGA’s fifth major, The Evian Championship.

Kerr_Cristie_HS_132x149Cristie Kerr is the winner of the Kia Community Assist award, which recognizes a player who makes exceptional contributions to charity organizations or community programs. Since 2009, Kerr’s annual charity event named Birdies for Breast Cancer raised more than $2.5 million for cancer research. Just three years ago, Kerr was able to open her own health center at the LibertyHealth Foundation at Jersey City Medical Center. The Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center provides women’s health programs, community prevention and outreach to women in the area. Donations from this year’s event will fund an expansion to the health center

"I am honored that the work we have done in Women's Health is being recognized by Kia, a company which prides itself in the importance of giving back to the community,” said Kerr. “While I am proud to be recognized by Kia for this year's Community Assist Award, the credit goes to the care providers on the ground in thousands of communities across the country, particularly the doctors and employees at the Jersey City Medical, home of the Cristie Kerr Women's Health Center. I want to thank Kia for their support of the LPGA, women's golf and for recognizing the work Birdies for Breast Cancer has done in the Jersey City community."

In addition to sponsoring the Kia Performance Awards, Kia is also the Official Automotive Partner of the LPGA, title sponsor of the Kia Classic and Official Tournament Vehicle for five LPGA events.

Topics: Lewis, Stacy, Kerr, Cristie, Recari, Beatriz, Smith, Nicole, Kia Performance Awards, Press Release [+]

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