World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa among distinguished list of early commitments for Kia Classic Presented by J Golf
Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Karrie Webb, Laura Davies also part of early field that features 43 of the top 50 players from last year's money list; Tickets for the March 22-28 event at La Costa Resort and Spa available at www.lpgalacosta.com
CARLSBAD, Calif., Jan. 19, 2010 - The early commitments are in, and it appears that a major-championship-quality field is shaping up for the inaugural Kia Classic Presented by J Golf.
Buoyed by the presence of Mexican superstar and Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lorena Ochoa, the initial commitments of 126 players for the LPGA's first tournament of the season in the United States boasts eight of the top 10 players from last season's money list, 20 of the top 25 and 43 of the top 50. It includes players who have combined to win 285 LPGA tournaments and 35 major championships in their careers.
The $1.7 million Kia Classic Presented by J Golf, to be held March 22-28 at La Costa Resort and Spa, is a full-field, 144-player event that will bring the best names in women's golf to San Diego for the LPGA's first 2010 event in the United States. The field becomes official March 16. Tickets are available at www.lpgalacosta.com or by calling 1-888-SEE-LPGA.
"We're off to an exceptional start with our early player commitments," said Jim Felechner, the tournament director for the Kia Classic Presented by J Golf. "To have Lorena Ochoa, the world's No. 1-ranked player, brings instant excitement to our tournament. Our fans will have the unique opportunity to watch the top female players from around the globe as they compete at beautiful La Costa Resort and Spa. The rest of the early commitment list boasts many more familiar names and fan favorites. We're thrilled."
Others who have committed to play include:
• Paula Creamer, an eight-time winner on the LPGA and the 2005 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award winner
• Jiyai Shin, the LPGA's money leader and Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award winner in 2009
• Brittany Lincicome, a three-time winner on the LPGA and the defending champion of the Kraft Nabisco Championship (her first major championship)
• Karrie Webb, who has won 36 times on the LPGA, including seven major titles, and is the tour's active career leader in wins and money earned ($15.2 million)
• Laura Davies, a 20-time tournament winner who has four major-championship victories to her name
• Cristie Kerr, the American No. 1 who has won 12 times on the LPGA (including the 2007 U.S. Women's Open) and finished second on the money list last year
• Morgan Pressel, a two-time winner on the LPGA (including the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship) who set a record (since broken) as the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open (in 2001, when she was 12)
• Juli Inkster, an LPGA Hall of Fame member with 29 career victories to her name, including seven major championship wins
• Se Ri Pak, whose 24 career victories include five majors
• Ai Miyazato, the Japanese superstar who was third on the money list last year with more than $1.5 million in earnings
• Na Yeon Choi, who in October at Torrey Pines won the Samsung World Championship, the most recent LPGA event played in San Diego
• Christina Kim, who is as well known for her outgoing personality on the golf course as her two wins on the LPGA
• Angela Stanford, who has four career LPGA victories and nearly $5 million in earnings
• Natalie Gulbis, a fan favorite who in addition to golf has starred in her own reality TV show, appeared on The Apprentice and will be in an upcoming episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
The remainder of the 144-player field for the Kia Classic Presented by J Golf will be announced as players commit leading up to the tournament.
The Kia Classic Presented by J Golf will continue a long tradition of professional women's golf in San Diego, beginning in 1953 with the San Diego Open. Most recently, Choi became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2009 Samsung World Championship. In the 55 years between, San Diego tournament winners have included the likes of LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame members Louise Suggs, Mickey Wright, Betsy Rawls and many other prominent LPGA stars.
La Costa Resort and Spa will host an official LPGA event for the first time when it welcomes the Kia Classic Presented by J Golf, though the majestic coastal resort is no stranger to professional tournaments. La Costa most recently hosted the PGA TOUR's World Golf Championships (WGC) Accenture Match Play Championship (1999-2006). Its longest-running tournament brought the PGA TOUR's best to La Costa from 1969-1998, first as the Tournament of Champions and later as the Mercedes Championship. It also hosted the CBS Golf Classic in 1965, and was home to the Haig Scotch Mixed Foursome Championship from 1965-67.
For available volunteer opportunities, details on corporate sponsorship and the official Kia Classic Presented by J Golf Pro-Am, as well as all other tournament information, log on to www.lpgalacosta.com or call tournament coordinator Danielle Genet in the tournament office at (760) 579-7365.