DALY CITY, Calif. -- In the shadows of the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the United States' most internationally-recognized landmarks within one of the country's most culturally-diverse regions, the very best female golfers from around the globe will convene in the San Francisco area to showcase elite golf, art and culture at the inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic April 21-27 at Lake Merced Golf Club.
The Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic includes 14 of the top 15 golfers in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings (as of April 14) - World No. 1 Inbee Park, Suzann Pettersen, top-ranked American Stacy Lewis, 16-year-old sensation Lydia Ko, Karrie Webb, So Yeon Ryu, Chinese No. 1 Shanshan Feng, Pleasanton native Paula Creamer, Anna Nordqvist, Cristie Kerr, Na Yeon Choi, Catriona Matthew, Lizette Salas and Amy Yang - and 31 of the world's top 35 golfers.
As April is the month that kicks off golf's major championships on America's top domestic tours, the final 144-player field for the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic is one that is major-worthy. In fact, the field is lined with 18 major championship winners, including eight players who have won multiple majors. Bay Area native Juli Inkster and Webb own seven major titles each, Korean golf pioneer Se Ri Pak and Taiwan No. 1 Yani Tseng - a former World No. 1 - have bagged five apiece, and Park won three of her four majors consecutively in 2013 (Kraft Nabisco Championship, Wegmans LPGA Championship, U.S. Women's Open). Pettersen, Lewis and Kerr have won two apiece.
The field also includes those with close ties to Northern California like Sacramento native Natalie Gulbis, Stanford graduate Michelle Wie - who finished second in the Kraft Nabisco Championship earlier this month - Los Altos resident and World Golf Hall of Famer Inkster (playing her final year on the LPGA tour) and San Jose native Christina Kim.
The $1.8 million Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, partnered with the Taiwan-based Swinging Skirts Golf Team, marks the LPGA's first return to the Bay Area since 2010. It is also the first LPGA co-sanctioned tournament with a Taiwanese sponsor on American soil, partnering with the Taiwan LPGA (TLPGA) to showcase more of Asia's top talent. The inaugural event champion will earn $270,000 and 500 points in the Race to the CME Globe. Golf Channel's live broadcast is from 3:30-6:30 p.m. PT April 24-26 and 4-6:30 p.m. PT on April 27.
"With the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, we are proud to tee off the new tradition that will take shape on the LPGA tour for many years to come at Lake Merced Golf Club," said Mr. Johnson Wang, Chairman of the Swinging Skirts Golf Team. "We welcome one of the strongest fields on tour."
Added Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Executive Director Kevin Hopkins: "The strength of our field demonstrates that the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic has already taken foothold as one of the most important events on the LPGA. Uniquely positioned as a celebration of world-class golf, art and culture in a beautiful area of the U.S., we hope the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic will become one of the most favored tour stops among the LPGA's stars."
The Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic field features 120 LPGA golfers as well as the top 10 players on the Taiwan LPGA Official Money List (Ya-Huei Lu, Huei-Ju Shih, Babe Liu, Wei-Ling Hsu, Tzu-Chi Lin, Pei-Yun Chien, Ai-Chen Kuo, Yu-Ling Hsieh, Pei-Lin Yu and Szu-Han Chen), five sponsor exemptions, seven additional exemptions to players of Taiwanese descent, and two Monday (April 21) Qualifiers.
The sponsor exemptions are headlined by English teenager Charley Hull - the 2013 Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year and European Solheim Cup player who tied for seventh at the Kraft Nabisco Championship - and include Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, Korea's Hyo Joo Kim, American amateur Mika Liu and Chinese amateur Isabel Ji. The seven Taiwanese exemptions were awarded to Min Lee, Hsin-Ning Yeh and amateurs Min-Jou Chen, Chih-Min Chen, Yu-Ju Chen, Cih-Hui Chen and Ssu-Chia Cheng.
Four of the five LPGA winners in 2014 are entered in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic field. Creamer won her 10th LPGA tournament at March's HSBC Women's Champions event in Singapore with an incredible, 75-foot eagle putt on the second sudden-death playoff hole that brought her to her knees and brought tears of joy.
World Golf Hall of Famer Webb and Nordqvist are the LPGA's only multiple tournament winners in 2014. Webb claimed the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open and JTBC Founders Cup - her 41st LPGA win - while Nordqvist reigned supreme at the Honda LPGA Thailand and Kia Classic. American Jessica Korda, 21, was the first LPGA champion in 2014, winning the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.
Information about the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic and tickets can be obtained at www.SwingingSkirtsLPGAClassic.com. Tickets are also available at Golfsmith stores local to the tournament. Free grounds admission is available for all active duty, Reserve and retired military (must show valid military ID), as well as for children 17 and under when accompanied by a ticketed adult.
Fans had until Sunday (April 20) to purchase daily grounds ticket specials, beginning at $15 (for the Wednesday Pro-Am; $10 savings from the gate price) and $25 (for tournament rounds Thursday-Sunday; $5 savings from the gate price). The weeklong grounds ticket ($85) is available only through Sunday. For fans seeking to enjoy the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in the most luxurious manner, the 18th green suite ticket includes food and beverage as well as shaded seating in an upgraded hospitality pavilion surrounding the 18th green at Lake Merced Golf Club for $130 for one day during either Thursday's or Friday's tournament round, $150 for one day during either weekend round, or $500 for the entire tournament (Thursday-Sunday).
Fans can retrieve event information and interact with the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic through its social media channels on Facebook (search 'Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic') and on Twitter (@SwingingSkirts).
The mission of the Taiwan-based Swinging Skirts Golf Team is to grow women's golf and the golf industry in Taiwan. In addition to staging the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters (Taiwan Ladies Professional Golf Association and the Korea Ladies Professional Golf Tour co-sanctioned event), the Swinging Skirts Golf Team has conducted the "Dream Chasing Cup" throughout northern, central and southern Taiwan to help lay the path for Taiwanese junior golfers to make it to the international stage.
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About Swinging Skirts Golf Team
The Swinging Skirts Golf Team is a private, Taiwanese non-profit organization made up of both men and women amateur golfers with a shared goal of growing women's golf across the globe via sponsoring top women's golf tournaments as well as top female golfers. The Swinging Skirts members are avid golfers who always wear colorful skirts or kilts when they play to bring a fun atmosphere to some of golf's oldest traditions, born hundreds of years ago at St. Andrews in Scotland. The Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic will be a celebration of the international nature of the game that showcases some of the best young talent from Taiwan competing against the very best players in the world.
About Lake Merced Golf Club
Lake Merced Golf Club, a club steeped in the rich traditions of competition at the highest level of the sport, is proud to host the 2014 LPGA Swinging Skirts tournament, April 24 through April 27, 2014. Founded in 1922, the Club has welcomed PGA tour events (the 1940 San Francisco Match Play Championship), U.S. Open qualifying tournaments and most recently, the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship. In 1941, Babe Zaharias brought her legendary game to Lake Merced to compete in the San Francisco Women's Open Match Play Championship.
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2014 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic
Marina Alex Tiffany Joh Mika Miyazato
Amy Anderson Jennifer Johnson Giulia Molinaro
Christel Boeljon Hannah Jun Medlock Paola Moreno
Danah Bordner Ariya Jutanugarn * Becky Morgan
Heather Bowie Young Moriya Jutanugarn Belen Mozo
Katie Burnett Danielle Kang Azahara Munoz
Nicole Castrale Haeji Kang Anna Nordqvist
Sandra Changkija Jimin Kang Ryann O'Toole
Chih-Min Chen (a) * Cristie Kerr Ji Young Oh
Cih-Hui Chen (a) * Christina Kim Se Ri Pak
Min-Jou Chen (a) * Hyo Joo Kim * Brooke Pancake
Szu-Han Chen * I.K. Kim Hee Young Park
Yu-Ju Chen (a) * Mindy Kim Inbee Park
Ssu-Chia Cheng (a) * Sue Kim Suzann Pettersen
Pei-Yun Chien * Jennifer Kirby Pornanong Phatlum
Chella Choi Katherine Kirk Gerina Piller
Na Yeon Choi Lydia Ko Erica Popson
Carlota Ciganda P.K. Kongkraphan Morgan Pressel
Cydney Clanton Jessica Korda Beatriz Recari
Irene Coe Candie Kung Jennifer Rosales
Paula Creamer Ai-Chen Kuo * So Yeon Ryu
Perrine Delacour Cindy LaCrosse Lizette Salas
Moira Dunn Brittany Lang Dewi Claire Schreefel
Kathleen Ekey Ilhee Lee Hee Kyung Seo
Austin Ernst Jee Young Lee Giulia Sergas
Jodi Ewart Shadoff Meena Lee Alena Sharp
Shanshan Feng Mi Hyang Lee Huei-Ju Shih *
Katie Futcher Min Lee * Jenny Shin
Sandra Gal Mirim Lee Sarah Jane Smith
Julieta Granada Seon Hwa Lee Christine Song
Jaye Marie Green Rebecca Lee-Bentham Angela Stanford
Megan Grehan Stacy Lewis Thidapa Suwannapura
Natalie Gulbis Tzu-Chi Lin * Jaclyn Sweeney
Hee-Won Han Xi Yu Lin Yani Tseng
Mina Harigae Brittany Lincicome Ayako Uehara
Caroline Hedwall Pernilla Lindberg Mariajo Uribe
Maria Hernandez Babe Liu * Line Vedel
Yu-Ling Hsieh * Mika Liu (a) * Alison Walshe
Wei Ling Hsu Ya Huei Lu * Karrie Webb
Charley Hull * Mo Martin Michelle Wie
Mi Jung Hur Caroline Masson Lindsey Wright
Vicky Hurst Catriona Matthew Amy Yang
Karine Icher Maria McBride Hsin-Ning Yeh *
Juli Inkster Lisa McCloskey Sun Young Yoo
Jeong Jang Kristy McPherson Pei-Lin Yu *
Eun-Hee Ji Sydnee Michaels
Isabel Ji (a) * Ai Miyazato
* Sponsor invite
LPGA Top-10 LOTTE (2)
LPGA Winner LOTTE (1)
1. Victoria Elizabeth 19. Hanna Kang 37. Victoria Tanco
2. Kelly Tan 20. Veronica Felibert 38. Dottie Ardina
3. Paula Reto 21. Laura Davies 39. Stacey Keating
4. Paz Echeverria 22. Lorie Kane 40. Louise Friberg
5. Silvia Cavalleri 23. Julia Boland 41. Jackie Stoelting
6. Haru Nomura 24. Jane Rah 42. Kristie Smith
7. Ashleigh Simon 25. Megan McChrystal 43. Lindy Duncan
8. Pat Hurst 26. Jenny Suh 44. Natalie Sheary
9. Sarah Kemp 27. Alejandra Llaneza 45. Katy Harris
10. Dori Carter 28. Birdie Kim 46. Brittany Altomare
11. Laura Diaz 29. Kim Kaufman 47. Marta Silva
12. Kris Tamulis 30. Haley Millsap 48. Dani Holmqvist
13. Jennifer Song 31. Reilley Rankin 49. Wendy Ward
14. Amelia Lewis 32. Anya Alvarez 50. Eunjung Yi
15. Karen Stupples 33. Lee-Anne Pace 51. Amy Hung
16. Maude-Aimee Leblanc 34. Caroline Westrup 52. Kim Williams
17. Nicole Jeray 35. Brianna Do 53. Jean Bartholomew
18. Felicity Johnson 36. Emma Jandel
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