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LET heads to China for World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Haikou
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China's Shanshan Feng, who won the individual professional and team titles at the inaugural Mission Hills World Ladies Championship before going on the win the LPGA Championship and Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in 2012

The second World Ladies Championship is to be held on the Sandbelt Trails course at Mission Hills’ luxury golf and leisure resort in Haikou on the tropical island of Hainan in southern China from March 7-10 this week.  

This will be the fourth stop on the Ladies European Tour’s international 2013 schedule.

With prizes totalling $600,000, the tournament gathers 109 of the best female golfers in the world including Korean world No.4 Inbee Park, Chinese world No.5 Shanshan Feng, world No.8 Suzann Pettersen of Norway and last year’s European No.1 Carlota Ciganda.

Following the success of the inaugural 2012 tournament, the four day event, which is co-sanctioned by Ladies European Tour and China LPGA Tour, will again feature a unique three-in-one format, with prizes for the individual professional, amateur and team events.  

The individual professional competition features 72 holes of strokeplay with a cut to the leading 50 professionals and those tied after round two, while the amateur and team competitions will be played simultaneously.

Each team will be represented by two players and the result will be determined by the lowest team aggregate score. If a player misses the cut in the individual tournament, she must play the remaining two rounds to be eligible for the team prize fund.

There will be 19 teams representing 18 different countries, with two teams from China.

Feng returns to defend the team title that she won with compatriot Li Ying Ye 12 months ago, while the the pair will be joined by a second Chinese team in Jia Yun Li and Xi Yu Lin, both of whom are rookies on the Ladies European Tour in 2013.

Li Ying Ye and Shanshan Feng, who combined for a team win in 2012

It was a clean sweep for the home nation at the inaugural World Ladies Championship and Feng will also defend the individual title that she won by a stroke from Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum.  

Chinese amateur Jing Yan at Mission Hills in 2012

Chinese national team member, Jing Yan, 17, will be out to defend the amateur title she earned last year by finishing two shots clear of World No.1 Lydia Ko.

The full list of 19 teams includes a strong Thai pair in LET rookie Ariya Jutanugarn and Nontaya Srisawang. The 17-year-old Jutanugarn finished second to Inbee Park at the Honda LPGA Thailand a fortnight ago and is now ranked 40th in the world.

Australia also fields a strong team in Stacey Keating and Karen Lunn, both winners on the LET last year.

After her success last season, when she won the LET’s Order of Merit and Rookie titles, Ciganda will be one to watch along with fellow Spaniard Tania Elosegui.

England’s Laura Davies makes her tournament debut and will partner Trish Johnson, while Swede Pernilla Lindberg finished third last year and will be partnered by Carin Koch.

The Korean team features Ha Neul Kim and Inbee Park, while Beth Allen and Hannah Jun of San Diego, California, are representing the United States for a second time.

Marianne Skarpnord links up with fellow Norwegian Pettersen, while Miyari Honda and Mikado Kanemiya represent Japan.

Carly Booth and Kylie Walker represent Scotland, while Becky Brewerton and Lydia Hall reunite for Wales.

Italy fields a strong team in Diana Luna and Veronica Zorzi, while Germany is represented by Steffi Kirchmayr and LET rookie Leigh Whittaker.

Dewi-Claire Schreefel and Marjet Van der Graaff represent the Netherlands, Pace is joined by Stacy Lee Bregman for South Africa and Ursula Wikstrom and Minea Blomqvist unite for Finland, while Anne-Lise Caudal and Gwladys Nocera represent France.

Danielle Montgomery, the winner of last year’s ‘Best Dressed’ award.

In the amateur competition, Yan will face competition from Chinese pair Simin Feng and Xiang Sui, as well as Scottish duo Eilidh Briggs and Kelsey MacDonald.

In the professional competition, Melissa Reid is amongst the entrants not yet mentioned and could pose a threat in her first tournament of the season. She is joined by fellow Englishwomen Florentyna Parker, Elizabeth Bennett, Felicity Johnson, Rebecca Hudson, Sophie Walker, rookie Emily Taylor and Danielle Montgomery, the winner of last year’s ‘Best Dressed’ award.

Frenchwoman Cassandra Kirkland enjoyed her maiden win in China at the Sanya Ladies Open late last year and is joined by another of last year’s champions in Denmark’s Line Vedel.

Set in beautiful natural surroundings, competitors and visitors alike will enjoy the tropical island scenery featuring rugged, black lava rock, lush green lychee groves, simple low walls and underground springs, all of which combine to make Mission Hills Haikou a truly unique golf destination.

Aside from the spectacle of watching the world’s best golfers in action, visitors will also have the ability to play on some of the resort’s nine other acclaimed courses and enjoy the award winning spa complex – recently accredited “World’s Largest Spa Resort” by Guinness World Records.

During the same week, Mission Hills will be launching an amateur ladies’ golf tournament to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March. The Modern Lady Charity Invitational will boast a field of 96 successful business women and elite ladies from China who will compete in both a Stableford Team and Individual competition, with proceeds from the event donated to help under privileged children in Hainan.

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