Talented teenagers Lin Xiyu and Su-Hyun Oh will be aiming to enhance their growing reputations when they compete in the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Haikou in China this week.
Chinese No.2 Lin, who turned 19 last month, and Korean-born Australian Oh, 18, are each seeking their second victory on the Ladies European Tour (LET).
Lin is the fast-rising star of Chinese golf and is enjoying success at home and abroad. Last year, her first on the US LPGA Tour, she overcame a tough start to post a string of encouraging results and retain her card for 2015.
She followed up with a dominant five-stroke win in last November’s Sanya Ladies Open, her first LET victory. And to cap a successful year, she finished joint third in December’s Hyundai China Ladies Open at Mission Hills Shenzhen, securing the China LPGA Tour Order of Merit title.
The World Ladies Championship is the fourth LET tournament this year and the opening event in the 2015 CLPGA schedule.
“It’s my first tournament in China this year, so I’m looking forward to coming back to Mission Hills Haikou and supporting this joint-sanctioned event,” said Lin. “As the top-ranked Chinese player in the field, I know the fans will be cheering me on and I will be doing my best to deliver a performance to make them proud.”
Victoria-based Oh will arrive at Mission Hills Haikou on a high after winning this year’s first LET event, the RACV Ladies Masters on Australia’s Gold Coast, in just her second tournament as a professional.
Prior to that, Oh had enjoyed an outstanding amateur career. In 2009, aged 12, she was the youngest player ever to qualify for the Women’s Australian Open and in 2013 she finished tied for second in the LET-sanctioned Australian Ladies Masters. She competed in last year’s World Ladies Championship as one of the world’s top-ranked amateurs
“After winning the first LET tournament this year, I’m delighted to be returning to Mission Hills Haikou for the World Ladies Championship,” said Oh. “The organisers have put together a truly fantastic field and I’m relishing the chance to test myself against some of the best players in the world.”
The US$600,000 World Ladies Championship will be staged at Mission Hills Haikou, on the Chinese tropical island of Hainan, from 12-15 March. Once again, it will be played on the resort’s signature par-73 Blackstone Course, voted Best Championship Course in Asia in 2013.
The star-studded field is spearheaded by defending champion and world No.2 Inbee Park of Korea. She is joined by 2013 champion and last year’s runner-up, Suzann Pettersen of Norway, the world No.5.
World No.8 So Yeon Ryu of Korea, who finished third last year, also returns to Mission Hills Haikou for another crack at the title.
“We are delighted to be welcoming back Lin Xiyu and Su-Hyun Oh to the World Ladies Championship,” said Mission Hills Group Vice Chairman Mr Tenniel Chu. “They are among the new generation of world class golfers and are wonderful role models for any young female players with aspirations to do well in the sport.”
The World Ladies Championship offers a unique “three events in one” format – individual professional competition, a team championship in which countries are represented by teams of two, and an individual amateur category.
Park, the five-time Major winner, will not only be defending the individual title, she will also be looking to capture the team trophy for a third time, having triumphed with Kim Ha Neul two years ago and Ryu last time out.
The World Ladies Championship is co-sponsored by global services company American Express; premium Italian lifestyle brand FILA; world-renowned bathroom brand TOTO; Dole, the world’s largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables; premium beer brand Stella Artois; premium sparkling fruit juice Appletiser; sparkling natural mineral water San Pellegrino; and Jacobsen turf equipment.