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Golf in Singapore: Asia’s Major!

 

Men’s golf – okay, Tiger Woods – stole most of the headlines last year, and it was usually on account of what was happening away from the fairways and greens. Meanwhile, the world’s best women golfers fought tooth-and-nail for the coveted number-one position.

Now we can watch their ongoing struggle firsthand, thanks to the return of Singapore’s important LPGA Tour event, the HSBC Women’s Champions, next month. This fourth edition of “Asia’s Major” looks like it will be bigger and better than ever.

For Japan’s Ai Miyazato (pictured), winning the 2010 HSBC Women’s Champions proved the springboard to an incredibly successful twelve months, in which she claimed an impressive five tour victories. For a considerable chunk of the year, she was the number-one ranked female golfer in the world. Her chances of being named the best female golfer in 2010 only evaporated when she played a bad opening round in a tournament in Florida in December.

“I couldn’t have dreamt that I would win so many titles and reach the number one spot for a time,” said Miyazato about her achievements, “so I’m really determined to defend my HSBC Women’s Champions title in February.”

Miyazato is just one of the big names in women’s golf who will return to the Tanah Merah Country Club for this year’s instalment of the tournament.

No surprises that they’re all keen to perform well in Singapore. Aside from an increased prize fund of US$1.4 million this year, there’s the knowledge that the 2010 event boasted the strongest field ever seen in Asia, including the top 55 players from the previous season’s official money list.

Who’ll be playing?

The qualification criteria for the HSBC Women’s Champions 2011 cater for a maximum number of 63 players. There will be no cut, so all will play the full 72 holes. Those invited to participate include:

The top 20 players from the Rolex Women’s World Ranking

All LPGA tournament champions from 2010

The HSBC Women’s Champions winners from 2009 and 2010

The 2011 Honda LPGA Thailand winner

Two sponsors’ invitees

A Singapore qualifier

The world’s best

At press time, Korean golfer Jiyai Shin topped the Rolex Rankings of women golfers, listed below. Half of the top ten was made up of Koreans. Fifth-placed Yani Tseng, from Taipei, was awarded LPGA Player of the Year on 5 December – she was the only player, male or female, to win two major tournaments in 2010.

Jiyai ShinKorea
Cristie KerrUSA
Suzann Pettersen
Norway
Na Yeon Choi
Korea
Yani TsengTaipei
Ai MizayatoJapan
In Kyung KimKorea
Sun Ju AhnKorea
Song-Hee KimKorea
Michelle Wie
USA

> Leading Australian: Karrie Webb (14th)

> Leading Brit: Catriona Matthew (30th)

LPGA Stats, 2010

Lowest scoring average: Na Yeon Choi (69.87)

Longest driver: Michelle Wie (average: 274 yards)

Most accurate driver: Jiyai Shin

Most greens in regulation: Suzann Pettersen

Most sand saves: Na Yeon Choi

Rookie of the year: Azahara Munoz (Spain)

 

The HSBC Women’s Champions takes place from 24 to 27 February at the Tanah Merah Country Club.

For more information, visit www.hsbcgolf.com

 

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