The Kraft Nabisco Championship is pleased to announce that nine of the world's top amateur and college players, led by the world's top-ranked amateur, Lydia Ko, Georgia Hall of England, and Alison Lee of Valencia, California, will participate in the 2013 tournament.
Doris Chen, Lindy Duncan, Camilla Hedberg, Isabelle Lendl, Stephanie Meadow and Ashlan Ramsey will also join Ko, Hall and Lee in the field as they compete in this year's tournament, taking place April 1-7, 2013 at Mission Hills Golf Club.
"Providing the future stars of women's golf the chance to play alongside their professional heroes in the first major championship of the year has always been a point of pride for the Kraft Nabisco Championship," said David Blake-Thomas, Executive Director and Chairman, Kraft Nabisco Championship. "We are proud to be able to provide these great young players from around the world with this important step in their careers, and look forward to joining golf fans in cheering them on."
Lydia Ko of New Zealand enjoyed a record-setting 2012 season, winning two events that not only established marks for the youngest person to win professional golf tournaments, but also earned her the top women's amateur ranking in the world. In January of 2012, Ko won the Bing Lee/Samsung Women's NSW Open on the ALPG Tour. At just 14 years of age at the time, the victory set a new mark for the youngest player to win a professional golf event. In August of last year, at 15 years and four months of age, Ko became the youngest-ever winner on the LPGA Tour when she won the CN Canadian Women's Open. The victory topped the previous mark of 16 years and seven months by Lexi Thompson and made Ko the first amateur winner of an LPGA event in over 43 years.
"We're very pleased to once again welcome an outstanding group of the world's top-ranked amateur players to the Kraft Nabisco Championship," said Gabe Codding, Tournament Director of the Kraft Nabisco Championship. "These young players have grown up watching the winners make the iconic leap into Poppie's Pond and it is a thrill for them to be able to follow in their heroes' footsteps."
Fresh off a strong 2012 season that saw her rise to the top of the women's European amateur ranking, and 4th overall in the World women's amateur rankings, 16-year old Georgia Hall will be playing in her first tournament in the United States. Hall won three prestigious tournaments in 2012 including the Hampshire Rose, the Roehampton Gold Cup and the Critchley Salver at Sunningdale, cementing her status as one of the top young women amateurs in the world.
Alison Lee, ranked 7th in the World amateur rankings and 1st in both the Golfweek Junior rankings and the Polo AJGA rankings, will turn 18 later this month. Lee has already gained valuable experience in major championships, having played in the U.S. Women's Open three times and the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2012. Lee made the cut at the 2009 U.S. Women's Open, her first appearance in a major championship, when she was just 14 years old and finished in a tie for 26th place.
Doris Chen, originally from Bradenton, Florida, is currently a sophomore at the University of Southern California. Chen earned 2012 NGCA All-American and All-Pac-12 first team honors, posting six top 11 finishes as a freshman last year, including a win at the 2012 Pac-12 Championship. In her USC player bio, Chen lists World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, who will play host to this year's Kraft Nabisco Championship celebrity pro-am, as her favorite professional athlete.
Lindy Duncan, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was named the 2012 PING NGCA NCAA Player of the Year, becoming the third player from Duke University to earn the award. Duncan, currently ranked 11th in the World Golf Amateur Rankings also became just the fifth Duke Blue Devil to earn NCGA First Team All-American honors in her first three seasons.
Camilla Hedberg, from Sitges, Spain, is the number one ranked amateur player from Spain and the 15th ranked amateur in the world. Hedberg was named the 2012 SEC Freshman of the Year and twice earned SEC Golfer of the Week honors. Hedberg notched her first career collegiate win in her sophomore season at the Cougar Classic, winning by four strokes over Duke All-American Lindy Duncan.
Isabelle Lendl, a senior at the University of Florida, has seven career amateur and collegiate victories to her credit including the 2013 Dixie Amateur Championship, the 2012 Tarheel Invitational, the 2012 Dale McNamara Invitational, the 2009 and 2012 Women's Eastern Amateur Championship, the 2010 Central Distric Invitational, and the 2008 Doherty Championship. Isabelle, whose father is tennis great Ivan Lendl, was named Golfweek's Player of the Week in October, 2012.
Stephanie Meadow, from Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, and ranked 9th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, is a junior at the University of Alabama. Last summer Meadow won the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship and clinched victory for Great Britain and Ireland at the Curtis Cup. Stephanie is a two-time first-team All-American golfer by Golfweek, two-time first-team All-SEC selection, and was named the 2011 SEC Freshman of the Year.
Ashlan Ramsey, who is 17 years old and has signed a letter of intent to attend Clemson University, is ranked 57th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and 6th in the Golfweek Junior rankings. Ashlan was ranked 4th on Golfweek's Top 10 Junior Girls of 2012 and is a two-time First-Team Rolex Junior All-American (2011, 2012).
About the Kraft Nabisco Championship
The Kraft Nabisco Championship is golf's first major and one of the LPGA Tour's most prestigious events. Founded in 1972 by David Foster and Dinah Shore, the Kraft Nabisco Championship earned the designation as a major tournament in 1983. Contested at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., since its inception, the Championship holds the distinction of being the second oldest golf tournament continuously held at the same course.
For many, the event is most distinguished by one of golf's most beloved traditions: the champion's leap into Poppie's Pond, located adjacent to the 18th green. In 1988, the first champion's leap into Poppie's Pond was taken by Amy Alcott, and since has become one of the most anticipated and memorable traditions in golf. For more information on the Kraft Nabisco Championship, please visit www.KNCGolf.com
About Kraft Foods
Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: KRFT) is North America's fourth largest consumer packaged food and beverage company, with revenues of approximately $19 billion in 2011. Launched as a public and independent company on Oct. 1, 2012, the new Kraft has the spirit of a startup and the soul of a powerhouse. The company has an unrivaled portfolio of products in the beverages, cheese, convenient meals and grocery categories. Its iconic brands include Kraft, Maxwell House, Oscar Mayer, Planters and JELL-O. Kraft's 25,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada have a passion for making the foods and beverages people love. Kraft Foods Group is a member of the Standard & Poor's 500 index. For more information, visit www.kraft.com and www.facebook.com/kraft.
IMG Worldwide is a global sports, fashion and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG's areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging: IMG College; IMG's Joint Ventures in China, Brazil, India and Turkey; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Golf and IMG Tennis, IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academy; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing. More information is available at www.imgworld.com Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/IMG_Worldwide and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/IMG-Worldwide/
About IMG Golf
IMG Golf is the market leader in the sport with 50 years of experience and now nearly 500 staff working in different aspects of the golf business worldwide. This involves talent representation where the business started and IMG now works with over 100 of the best male and female players from over 30 countries. IMG owns, manages and stages more than 50 golf tournaments a year on every continent and on every Tour including Majors and World Golf Championships, along with special events and over 150 VIP golf days a year worldwide. IMG Golf is involved in every aspect of the game offering its partners a 360° fully integrated service and its core businesses include Media(with IMG Media in partnership with the European Tour and the Asian Tour via European Tour Productions and Asian Tour Media) and Golfing World as well as digital and social media, Golf Course Design and Management, Sales and Advisory Services, Corporate and Federation Consulting, Hospitality, Academies, Licensing, Publishing, Speakers, Broadcasters, Bid Consultancy, Corporate and Individual Brand Development. Golf was IMG's first sport and remains at the heart of IMG's global business.
After a 15-year Hall of Fame career Annika stepped away from competitive golf after the 2008 season to focus on her family and the ANNIKA brand of businesses, including the ANNIKA Academy, ANNIKA Financial Group, ANNIKA Course Design, ANNIKA Collection of apparel with Cutter & Buck, and signature high-end wines. In 2007, she created the ANNIKA Foundation to teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offer aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams. The Foundation partnered with SPARK, the leading physical education program for schools and helped create the Nine Healthy Habits curriculum with The First Tee. The Foundation annually conducts four major golf events for junior girls; the ANNIKA Invitational AJGA tournament in Orlando, Fla.; the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills, the first all-girls junior tournament in China; the ANNIKA Invitational in Europe; and the ANNIKA Cup, a team event for the top juniors in Sweden.
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