Shanghai to host 1st LPGA event
Shanghai will host its first LPGA event — the Buick LPGA Shanghai — at Qizhong Garden Golf Club on October 18-21, organizes announced yesterday.
As the first edition of a five-year deal, the tournament will boast a purse of US$2.1 million. The field will feature 62 of the world’s top-ranked golfers on the LPGA money list, 15 golfers from the China Ladies Professional Rankings and four sponsor invites.
Feng Shanshan, the top-ranked women golfer in 2017, will lead the Chinese squad, featuring Olympic golfer Lin Xiyu and Liu Yu, a representative of the younger generation.
The 28-year-old Feng was the first Chinese golfer, male or female, to win a major and be ranked No. 1 in the world. She also won the bronze medal in women’s golf at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“I am very familiar with the course, and will try my best to keep the trophy in China,” Feng told local media about the suburban club yesterday.
Feng’s best performance this year is a joint third-place finish at the LPGA Mediheal Championship in April. “I dare to say that I will surely be surpassed by my younger compatriots in the near future, as China’s golf is really on the rise.
“We have witnessed an increasing number of Chinese women golfers winning entries to big tournaments through qualifications, which is very difficult. What Chinese golfers need now is patience. And my world No. 1 ranking last year just showed that Chinese golfers can do very well in the sport.”
Incidentally, Liu Yu, 17, qualified for the US Women’s Open by claiming the lone spot on offer at the China sectional qualifier in Shanghai on Wednesday
According to Pang Zheng, secretary general of the China Golf Association, the purpose of introducing prestigious events like this is to allow more Chinese golfers win ranking points at home.
“Apart from those qualifying through rankings, 15 more Chinese golfers will be given the chance to play in Shanghai,” said Pang. “We know that the points accumulation for the 2020 Olympic Games qualification starts from July. The Shanghai event creates a good opportunity for Chinese golfers to collect points. At the same time, it will attract more local fans to the sport which boosts its development.”
The tournament will be a 72-hole stroke-play event over four days with no cut. It will be played on the undulating championship course where the players will have to negotiate the many bunkers and a feature lake in Minhang District.