Sport Asia
Don't Miss

Golf: Park, Pettersen, Ryu to return to Mission Hills Haikou

Five-time major winner Park In-bee will defend her title at the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Haikou. Photos: Paul Lakatos for Mission Hills.

Five-time major winner Park In-bee will defend her title at the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Haikou. Photos: Paul Lakatos for Mission Hills.

February 16, 2015: Park In-bee, Suzann Pettersen and Ryu So-yeon could reprise last year’s final-round battle at the World Ladies Championship after the three stars confirmed their return for the fourth edition, which will be held at Mission Hills Haikou from March 12-15.

 

Park – the five-time major winner recently deposed as World No. 1 by Lydia Ko – triumphed in a shootout with Pettersen a year ago, with Ryu finishing third.

 

Currently ranked World Nos. 2, 5 and 7 respectively, Park, Pettersen and Ryu will be the favourites in an event sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and China LPGA Tour, with World No. 1 amateur Celine Boutier of France also among those to watch.

 

Park’s five-shot victory at Mission Hills Haikou last March was an early highlight in an outstanding season, as the Korean captured her fifth major – the LPGA Championship – and two other LPGA titles.

 

“Winning the 2014 World Ladies Championship kicked off a great year for me, so I’m delighted to be coming back to Mission Hills Haikou,” Park said. “With Suzann and So-yeon returning and a strong field from the Ladies European Tour to contend with, defending my title won’t be easy, but I’m relishing the challenge.”

 

The US$600,000 World Ladies Championship will once again be held on Mission Hills Haikou’s signature Blackstone Course. The tournament comprises three events – individual professional competition, a team championship in which countries are represented by teams of two, and an individual amateur category.

 

Two-time major winner Suzann Pettersen will look to regain the trophy after her success in 2013.

Two-time major winner Suzann Pettersen will look to regain the trophy after her success in 2013.

Park was runner-up to Pettersen in 2013 before turning the tables on her Norwegian rival last year, and will also be looking to win the team title for a third time, having triumphed with Kim Ha-neul two years ago and Ryu last time.

 

Pettersen, a two-time major winner, is relishing the chance of another showdown with Park, with the pair having won one World Ladies Championship title each.

 

“I have many happy memories of Mission Hills Haikou, from winning the World Ladies Championship in 2013 to finishing runner-up last year, and then partnering basketball icon Yao Ming in last October’s World Celebrity Pro-Am, which was a fantastic experience,” Pettersen said. “Mission Hills always puts on a wonderful show and I can’t wait to return.”

 

Ryu, the 2011 US Women’s Open champion, collected her third LPGA title last August when she won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open.

 

“My first experience of Mission Hills Haikou last year was a hugely positive one, finishing third in the individual event and winning the team competition with In-bee,” Ryu said. “As usual, there are some strong players in the field this year and it promises to be a great week of golf.”

 

World No. 7 Ryu So-yeon will look to improve on her third-place finish last year.

World No. 7 Ryu So-yeon will look to improve on her third-place finish last year.

The amateur competition has featured some world-class talent in previous editions. Ko played in the first tournament in 2012 as a 14-year-old, while China’s Feng Simin, now an LPGA Tour rookie, won a year later. Australian teenager Minjee Lee, also an LPGA rookie this year, triumphed last year and finished joint fourth overall.

 

Boutier, from Montrouge in France, was the star of last year’s US college post-season, winning three of the final five tournaments and finishing runner-up individually at the NCAA Women’s Championship while leading Duke college to a two-shot team victory.

 

During the summer, Boutier qualified for the US Women’s Open at Pinehurst and finished in the top 30 at the Evian Championship, the year’s fifth and final major.

 

Tenniel Chu, Vice Chairman of Mission Hills Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome back In-bee Park, Suzann Pettersen and So-yeon Ryu to the World Ladies Championship. The presence of these three great players at Mission Hills Haikou is wonderful news for everyone associated with the tournament.

 

“We are also thrilled to be welcoming Celine Boutier to Mission Hills for the first time. Anyone who has seen this young lady play will agree she is a phenomenal talent with an extremely bright future in the game.”

 

The World Ladies Championship is co-sponsored by American Express, FILA, TOTO, Dole, Stella Artois and Appletiser.

 

Source: Mission Hills (www.missionhillschina.com); Editing by SportAsia

You must be logged in to post a comment Login