The penultimate event of the 2013 season kicks off this week at the sixth annual Lorena Ochoa Invitational presented by Banamex in Mexico at the Guadalajara Country Club where 16-time LPGA Tour champion Cristie Kerr is back to defend her title. The Miami, Fla. native won last year’s event when she overcame a two stroke deficit to defeat current World No. 1 Inbee Park.
Kerr enters the week already a champion in the 2013 season, having captured the Kingsmill Championship in May. As the season begins to come to a close with just two tournaments remaining on the schedule, Kerr says the relaxing environment at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational is the perfect ending to the season.
“It is so cool,” said Kerr of being the defending champion. “I had come close a couple of times in the past before winning last year. It was always a golf course that I have absolutely loved, the weather is always perfect. It’s just a really kind of easy relaxing week with 36 people.
“It’s always a relaxing atmosphere. Everybody always hangs out in the club house after their round and has great Mexican food and margaritas. It’s just a lot of fun. Lacoste is a big sponsor of that event and it’s really special for me, so going in defending will be a lot of fun.”
This year’s event highlights a star-studded field of 36 players vying for a $150,000 first-place prize from its $1 million purse. Six of the top-10 in the Rolex Rankings are slated to be in the field including No. 1 Inbee Park, No. 2 Suzann Pettersen, No. 3 Stacy Lewis and the 2011 Lorena Ochoa Invitational champ No. 10 Catriona Matthew.
Lewis is coming off her 17th top-10 finish of the season at the Mizuno Classic where she tied for eighth in search of a successful title defense, while Pettersen and Park took the week off from Tour. The trio will be combating through the final two events of the year to secure the Rolex Player of the Yea honor, Official Money List winner and the Vare Trophy award, given to the player with the lowest scoring average.