Amy Boulden and Becky Morgan have set their sights on becoming the first Welsh winners of the World Ladies Championship, which will be held at Mission Hills Resort Dongguan in China from Thursday.
Although the tournament is primarily an individual 72-hole strokeplay event, they have their sights fixed firmly on the team prize, which will be for the combined lowest scores by the top two players from each country.
The tournament has been held for the last four years at Mission Hills Resort Haikou on tropical Hainan Island, where the Welsh pair performed strongly 12 months ago.
Boulden, the Ladies European Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 2014, said: “Being paired with Becky and representing Wales is always great fun and I’m looking forward to playing on the Olazabal Course in Dongguan, knowing the high standard facilities on offer at Mission Hills. Last year in Haikou Becky and I finished in eighth position in the team event, just one behind England, so we’ll be doing all we can to finish high on the leader board.”
Morgan said: “When you come to China to represent your country, it’s always a great honour. Amy and I played well as a team for Wales last year in Haikou and I’m sure that we will inspire each other to perform well again. We have a lot of fun in this event and playing a different format to every other tournament makes it particularly exciting.”
In last year’s individual event, Morgan finished 11th while Boulden tied for 41st. Both players are yet to register their first titles on the professional circuit but have come agonisingly close on several occasions. Boulden’s career best finish was second at the 2014 Lacoste Ladies Open de France, while Morgan is a consistent performer, most recently finishing runner-up at last year’s Hero Women’s Indian Open.
The make-up of the 126-woman World Ladies Championship field includes 40 players from each of the Ladies European Tour, China LPGA Tour and Korean LPGA Tour as determined by their 2016 Exemption List as well as six invited players.
The format is 72 holes of stroke play, with individual players competing for the US$700,000 prize fund. The top world-ranked two players from each country as of 1st January will compete for the team prize fund of US$100,000, using combined stroke play scores.
First played in 2012, the list of former champions reads like a who’s who of women’s golf, with great names such as Shanshan Feng, Suzann Pettersen, Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu having lifted the individual trophy. Feng led China to victory in the inaugural team competition but Korea has dominated the last three years.