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Golf: Minjee Lee, Jennifer Yan secure HSBC invites to Singapore

Minjee Lee, 18, continued her strong start to her rookie season by finishing seventh at the Australian Open. Photos: HSBC Getty Images.February 27, 2015: Teenage stars Minjee Lee of Australia and Jennifer Yan Jing of China have received sponsor invitations to compete in next week’s HSBC Women’s Champions at Singapore’s Sentosa Golf Club, where the field features the world’s current top 10.

 

Both 18-year-olds are rookies on this year’s LPGA Tour, but arrive with big reputations, with Lee marking her first start as a pro last September by finishing 16th in the Evian Championship in France, where Yan tied for 20th to finish as the leading amateur in the year’s last major.

 

Lee once topped the World Amateur Golf Ranking and turned pro after leading Australia to victory in last September’s World Amateur Team Championship in Japan, where she earned an individual silver medal. In December, the Perth-born prodigy was the joint-winner of the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in Florida, so earning a full card for this year.

 

Lee has quickly settled into life on the LPGA and tied for seventh at last week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, following 12th and 27th-place finishes in the year’s first two events.

 

“I’m really grateful to HSBC for this amazing opportunity to play against the best in the world in such a big tournament,” Lee said. “I can’t wait to get to Singapore. I’ve heard great things about the course and what an amazing city it is, as well as all the special things HSBC do to make the event feel like ‘Asia’s Major’.”

 

Jennifer Yan, 18, is a Singapore permanent resident but earned China’s first Asian Games medal in golf when only 14.

Jennifer Yan, 18, is a Singapore permanent resident but earned China’s first Asian Games medal in golf when only 14.

Yan was the first Singaporean permanent resident to gain partial status on the LPGA after finishing 34th in December’s qualifier as an amateur and finished 66th in this year’s first event.

 

Yan was born in Connecticut, USA, lived in Singapore for over a decade as a youngster, yet represents China and was only 14 when she won the country’s first Asian Games individual medal in golf (silver) at Guangzhou 2010.

 

In 2013, she recorded a unique double by winning the Girls’ British Open Amateur and Ladies’ British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship, before tying for eighth in the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, the season-ending event on the Ladies European Tour. The Singlish-speaking teen is now looking forward to her second start on this year’s LPGA Tour.

 

“Playing in the HSBC Women’s Champions is a real honour for me,” said Yan, a former University of Washington freshman. “HSBC has played a big part in my golf development and now they have invited me to play in one of the biggest tournaments in Asia and I can’t say thank you enough.

 

“Being based in Singapore, I’m obviously familiar with the course and the environment which will hopefully help. I will just be looking to post a good result and reward HSBC’s faith in me. Hopefully I’ll get a bit of support from the fans as well, which is always a big help.”

 

Paula Creamer will defend her title against a strong field featuring World No. 1 Lydia Ko and 19 of the world’s current top 20. Singapore’s own Koh Sock Hwee is the only amateur in the field after winning the Host Country Qualifying Tournament at Sentosa Golf Club in late January.

 

Guy Kinnings, Global Head of Golf at IMG, the tournament organiser, said: “We are delighted that HSBC has invited both Minjee and Jing to the HSBC Women’s Champions 2015 and wish them every success next week. It is a wonderful opportunity for them both to play alongside the world’s best women golfers and we hope that they both have a fantastic experience.

 

“Once again the stage is set for another fantastic tournament. The Serapong course at Sentosa is in great shape, we have one of the most competitive fields ever assembled in Asia, a very talented local qualifier to support and a host of activities for everyone to enjoy as we have come to expect at all HSBC tournaments. We strongly encourage golf fans, families and sports enthusiasts to come and enjoy what will be a

 

Source: HSBC Women’s Champions (www.hsbcgolf.com/womens); Editing by SportAsia

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