The LPGA Tour begins its five-tournament Asia swing this week at the inaugural Reignwood LPGA Classic outside of Beijing, the Tour’s first trip to the capital of China. In conjunction with the China Golf Association and the China LPGA, the Pine Valley Golf Club will play host to 81 LPGA and CLPGA players who will compete over 72 holes for a chance at the $270,000 first-place check and be the first to etch their name on the tournament’s trophy.
Headlining this week’s event will be Rolex Rankings No. 10 Shanshan Feng, the top-ranked golfer who hails from the People’s Republic and the only Chinese player currently on the LPGA Tour. Feng made history last year when she captured the Wegmans LPGA Championship title, becoming the first Chinese golfer -male or female - to win a major championship. Her feat has helped spark a golf boom in her home country.
“It's really wonderful that I could play the tournament in my country, especially in the capital city,” said Feng. “It’s amazing that I can have so many Chinese friends playing along with me. You know for the past several years, I’m always the only player from mainland China on the Tour, so it will be fun this week. I really look forward to that.”
Six of the top 10 golfers in the Rolex Rankings are slated to be in the field this week including No. 1 Inbee Park and No. 3 Stacy Lewis, who are both seeking title defenses during the fall’s Asia swing. While Park currently leads the Rolex Player of the Year race, she’ll be looking to strengthen her grip on the award after Suzann Pettersen put herself within 77 points after she captured back-to-back victories at the Safeway Classic and The Evian Championship. Pettersen unseated Lewis from the No. 2 spot, providing for what looks to be a dramatic finish to the 2013 season.
The Reignwood LPGA Classic will be played October 3-6 and will be featured on Golf Channel all four days. The first round will air from 3-5 a.m. EST on Thursday and second round from 4-6 a.m. on Friday. Saturday and Sunday’s rounds will air from 3-6 p.m.