Inbee Park, Suzann Pettersen and So Yeon Ryu are
ready to reprise last year’s final-round battle when the World
Ladies Championship is staged at Mission Hills Haikou in China
Five-time Major winner Park triumphed in a
shootout with Pettersen a year ago with Ryu finishing third.
The three stars – all ranked in the world’s top
10 – have confirmed they will return to Mission Hills Haikou on
the tropical island of Hainan for the fourth staging of the
tournament from 12-15 March.
They will be joined by the world’s No.1
amateur, French sensation Celine Boutier, plus an outstanding
international line-up from the Ladies European Tour and rising
stars from the China LPGA Tour.
Park’s five-shot victory at Mission Hills Haikou
last March was the springboard for an outstanding 2014 that saw
the Korean capture 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,” said Park. “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 US$600,000 World Ladies Championship will
once again by staged on Mission Hills Haikou’s signature
Blackstone Course, voted Best Championship Course in Asia in 2013.
Organised in conjunction with the China Golf
Association and co-sanctioned by the China LPGA Tour, it will be
the fourth event on this year’s Ladies European Tour schedule.
The World Ladies Championship offers a unique
“three events in one” format – individual professional
competition, a team championship in which countries are
represented by teams of two, and an individual amateur category.
Park, currently the world No.2, was runner-up to
Pettersen at Mission Hills Haikou in 2013 before turning the
tables on her Norwegian rival last year. She 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 out.
With one World Ladies Championship title each,
two-time Major winner Pettersen is relishing the chance of another
showdown with Park.
“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,” said world no.5 Pettersen. “Mission Hills
always puts on a wonderful show and I can't wait to return.”
World no.7 Ryu, the 2011 US Women’s Open
champion, collected her third LPGA title last year when she won
the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.
“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 Inbee,”
said Ryu. “As usual, there are some strong players in the field
this year and it promises to be a great week of golf.”
Many eyes will be on the World Ladies
Championship amateur competition, which has unearthed some world
class gems in previous editions.
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko played in the first
tournament in 2012 as a 14-year-old and is now the world’s No.1
The 2013 amateur trophy was won by China’s Feng
Simin while brilliant young Australian Minjee Lee triumphed last
year and also finished joint fourth overall. Two months ago, both
players came through the LPGA Qualifying Tournament’s final stage
to earn their 2015 LPGA Tour cards.
Current world No.1 amateur 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
“We are delighted to welcome back Inbee Park,
Suzann Pettersen and So Yeon Ryu to the World Ladies
Championship,” said Mission Hills Group Vice Chairman Mr
Tenniel Chu. “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.”
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