SINGAPORE -- Ninteen-year old sensation Paula Creamer and LPGA’s glamour girl Natalie Gulbis have committed to participating in the much anticipated inaugural Lexus Cup, which will pit twelve international players against twelve leading players from Asia. US Women’s Open Champion Birdie Kim and rising star Candie Kung will represent the Asia Team.
They join superstars Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park in this prestigious ladies team event which will take place from 9-11 December, 2005 at Tanah Merah Country Club in Singapore.
“We are committed to showcasing the best players from around the world and the addition of these four great players is further validation that this high profile tournament is one not to be missed,” said Mr. M Takemoto, President of Toyota Motor Asia Pacific. “Fans from around the world can expect first class play and an exciting competition.”
American Paula Creamer has been making the headlines, becoming the youngest and first ever amateur to win the 2004 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. A team member of the US Team for this year's Solheim Cup, Creamer is the latest sensation to hit the LPGA, earning her exemption following her win at the Final Qualifying Tournament. Creamer currently sits at second on the money list behind International Team Captain Annika Sorenstam.
Commenting on why the Lexus Cup is a must watch for all fans, the recent Evian Masters Champion stated, “Women’s golf is gaining popularity by leaps and bounds and I’m excited to be part of this tournament which showcases some of the top players from around the world,”
“Playing with the likes of Annika and Grace is an honour and spectators can look forward to high quality playing skills and competitive spirit amongst the teams,” said Paula Creamer who is better known as Pink Panther among fans for her love of the colour Pink.
Notorious for having her own calendar and being the poster girl of the LPGA, American Natalie Gulbis has had a great 2005 season thus far with eight top ten finishes to date. The Latvian-descent beauty currently sits sixth on the LPGA money list and adds to the already sensational line up of players for the inaugural Lexus Cup.
“Playing with the top female players will be such a thrill and I’m looking forward to representing the International Team,” remarked Natalie Gulbis who was a shoo-in for the Solheim Cup. “With the rise of Asian stars in women’s golf, I believe this will be a competitive tournament. Moreover, with Annika Sorenstam leading the team, I’m confident we will fare well.”
Organisers of the event believe that with Lexus’ support, they can pave the way for the international growth and popularity of ladies golf.
“The Lexus Cup is the premier ladies team golf tournament in Asia Pacific and will help catapult the popularity of the game in the region and globally,” said Robbie Henchman, Senior Vice President of IMG. “We are confident this prestigious event will continue to grow - the great line up of players this year shows that there is a significant interest in the development of the sport.”
Birdie Kim shot to fame with a shocking birdie on the last hole at this year’s US Women’s Open and emerged as the unlikely winner. The US Women’s Open Champion is no stranger to team events, having secured a silver medal for Korea at the 1998 Asian Games. Korea is fast becoming the home of many outstanding women golfers and her selection is therefore no surprise.
“I’m ecstatic to be part of the Asia Team and look forward to playing with my compatriot Grace Park who, as everyone knows, is the pioneer of golf among Korean women,” commented Birdie Kim. “I definitely want to make sure Asia proves itself as a strong contender at this prestigious event and for the years to come!”
Candie Kung is a rising young star, boasting three career victories to her name since turning pro in 2002. Kung sits eighth on the money list this season. Her most famous feat was beating Annika Sorenstam during the quarterfinals at this year’s HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship in New Jersey, U.S.A.
“This is an amazing tournament featuring ladies golfing greats – I’m proud to be playing alongside them,” said Taiwanese-born Candie Kung, who has had six top ten finishes this year. “The Asia Team will be strong and we’re determined to win!”
About The Lexus Cup
The Lexus Cup is a prestigious ladies team event pitting 12 international players against 12 leading players from Asia. This year’s inaugural tournament will take place from 9-11 December at the Tanah Merah Country Club. The appointed captains select team members guided by an agreed qualification criteria and ‘”captain’s picks,” which will be based on the player’s experience, personality and charisma for team play.
Announcements of team members will continue to be made over the next few months. The event is supported by the Singapore Sports Council and will form part of Singapore’s growing international sporting calendar.