The 2014 LPGA season kicks off in paradise this year at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic. The Ocean Club Golf Course on Paradise Island hosts the event for the second year and features a star-studded field of 108 players competing over four days for a chance at a $195,000 first-place check and to etch their name on the tournament’s trophy.
Last year’s Pure Silk-Bahamas Classic winner Ilhee Lee joins five of the top 10 players in the Rolex Rankings, who are slated to be in the field this week including No. 2 Suzann Pettersen, and No. 3 Stacy Lewis. Rolex Rankings No. 4 Lydia Ko will also be making her first appearance as an LPGA Tour member as she kicks off her rookie season in 2014. Pettersen won four times in 2013 giving her 14 career victories while Lewis won three times last season. Ko is certainly no stranger to winning either having captured victories at the past two CN Canadian Women’s Opens, both while still competing as an amateur.
Lee returns to defend her two-shot victory over Irene Cho in what turned out to be an unusual event for the LPGA Tour at the Ocean Club Golf Course. Due to record torrential rain early in the week that caused much of the course to be unplayable, the Bahamas event in 2013 was shortened to a creative 12-hole layout and was contested over just three rounds.
Joining Lee in the field for this year’s Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic are nine different winners from the 2013 LPGA schedule as well as two LPGA and World Golf Halls of Famers in Juli Inkster (inducted in 2000) and Se Ri Pak (inducted in 2007). Pettersen starts the 2014 season looking to build on a successful 2013 season which featured a strong finish with three of her four wins coming in the last nine tournaments, and a total of 11 top-10 finishes. Lexi Thompson notched two wins in 2013, as well as six top-10 finishes and four top-five finishes.
The excitement is building for the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic and it’s not just due to the forecast showing significantly better weather than last year. In addition to kicking off the 2014 LPGA Tour schedule, the event will also mark the beginning of the inaugural Race to the CME Globe. It’s the LPGA’s new season-long points competition, which will culminate at the CME Group Tour Championship and award the winner with a $1 million prize check – the largest in all of women’s golf.
The Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic will be played January 23-26 and will be featured on Golf Channel all four days. Live coverage will be shown from 11:30-2:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 3-5 p.m. EST on Saturday and Sunday.