Wie, Lewis & Shin Highlight Rookie Contingent at P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship
ROGERS, AR - A top class of LPGA Tour rookies, including Michelle Wie and Stacy Lewis, are expected to compete at the P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship presented by John Q. Hammons, September 7 - 13. Jiyai Shin, the 2008 RICOH Women's British Open champion and the current leader in the Rolex Rookie of the Year race, will also make her Arkansas debut.
"Without question we are going to have a world-class field at this year's event," said Jay Allen, Tournament Chairman. "It's great to have Stacy Lewis back for the third year in a row and Jiyai Shin here for the first time, and Michelle Wie is simply one of the top draws on the whole LPGA Tour."
Wie, 19, is well known for an extraordinary amateur career. She first competed in a LPGA event at the 2002 LPGA Takefuji Classic when she became the youngest player to be a Monday qualifier for a LPGA event at the age of 12 years, 4 months, 14 days. In 2003, at the age of 13, Wie made her mark as the youngest USGA champion in an adult event when she won the USGA Women's Amateur Public Links Championship.
Wie qualified for the LPGA Tour through the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in her first attempt in December 2008. In her first full year on Tour, she has already earned five top-10 finishes.
Lewis was the 2007 NCAA Division I National Champion and a four-time All-American while at the University of Arkansas. While a student, she competed on a sponsor's exemption at the 2007 LPGA NW Arkansas Championship and was declared the unofficial champion of the rain-shortened event after leading the first round. She turned pro in June 2008 and finished tied for third shortly after at the U.S. Women's Open. She outplayed Wie and others at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in December 2008 to earn medalist honors and LPGA membership for 2009.
Shin is currently second on the LPGA Money List and stands fourth on the Rolex World Rankings. In 2008, Shin became the first non-LPGA member to win three events: the RICOH Women's British Open; Mizuno Classic; and season-ending ADT Championship, where she crossed the $1 million mark in season earnings. The 20-year-old is already a two-time winner in 2009, picking up her first official win as a LPGA Tour member at the HSBC Women's Champions, and also taking home the Wegmans LPGA title.
Tournament officials previously announced that rookie Anna Nordqvist, the reigning McDonald's LPGA Championship winner is expected to participate. Other notable rookies that are planning to participate include: 18-year-old Vicky Hurst and Japanese stars Shiho Oyama and Mika Miyazato.
Daily tickets are $15 Tuesday - Thursday of tournament week and $25 for championship play, Friday - Sunday. Week-long grounds badges can be purchased for $50. The tournament will continue to allow 20 area charitable organizations to sell weekly grounds badges while keeping 100 percent of the proceeds. To support your favorite participating charity, visit www.PGBeautyChampionship.com or call (479) 715-6100.