|Simi Mehra, 2012 champion Cassandra Kirkland and Xiyu Lin, reprentatives from the LAGT, LET and China LPGA respectively, tee off the 2013 Sanya Ladies Open Pro Am at Yalong Bay GC on Wednesday morning.
After a summer of action on European soil the LET heads east to China this week as a strong field prepares to tee it up in the Sanya Ladies Open at Yalong Bay Golf Club on the beautiful tropical paradise island of Hainan.
Back in the ‘Swing’ of things
The LET returns to action after a three-week break following the LACOSTE Ladies Open de France. The Sanya Ladies Open begins a fortnight in China and thus the final four events of the season finishing up in Dubai.
There will be plenty in China jockeying for position as the Sanya Ladies Open unfolds. A field of 120 players from the three sanctioning Ladies European, China LPGA and Ladies Asian Golf Tours, including 62 LET members, will be competing for a €45,000 first prize as part of a €300,000 purse.
The par-72 (36-36) Robert Trent Jones-designed course will be set at 6433 yards for the tournament and features 98 bunkers and a winding river that awaits wayward shots.
Fourth visit to Yalong Bay GC
Ladies European Tour members and staff are delighted to be back at Yalong Bay Golf Course for the fourth straight edition of the Sanya Ladies Open.
After the success of the last three tournaments, everything is set for another exciting contest in this idyllic setting, perfect for golf and just a stone’s throw away from Yalong Bay with its rolling waves and pristine golden sands.
All three past champions: Lee-Anne Pace (South Africa), Frances Bondad (Australia) and Cassandra Kirkland (France) are in the field featuring competitors from 26 different countries and regions, further elevating the tournament’s status and prestige internationally.
Since its inception in 2000, Yalong Bay has successfully staged 12 professional tournaments such as the Sanya Open in 2003, 2004 and 2006, the Volkswagen Masters in 2006, Crowne Plaza Open in 2006; the TCL Classic on the PGA European Tour in 2005, 2006 and 2007 as well as the Sanya Ladies Open in 2010 ,2011 and 2012.
Owned by China Everbright Group, the course was named as one of the ‘World 100 Best Courses outside the US’ and in ‘China’s Top 10 Golf Clubs’ by American Golf Digest.
The course is once again in superb condition despite a typhoon that caused damage last week thanks to the hard work of course manager Shane Templeton and his staff.
Players to Watch in the Field
The 2010 Sanya Ladies Open champion Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa is the top ranked player from the current LET ISPS HANDA Order of Merit and will be trying to win the event for a second time after two wins already this season in Turkey and Spain, taking her career win total to seven. Defending champion Cassandra Kirkland from France and 2011 champion Frances Bondad of Australia are also in the field.
Gwladys Nocera from France, ranked fourth on the Order of Merit, will be targeting her second title of the season following the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open and her 12th career title overall. Gwladys almost won in China at the Suzhou Taihu Open in 2009, but finished runner-up to Bo Mi Suh from Korea.
The Deloitte (Dutch) Ladies Open champion Holly Clyburn from England, currently ranked sixth on the Order of Merit, will be battling for another title on her second visit to China. (She previously visited for the Faldo Series in 2010).
After a run of five second place finishes at the start of the season, Solheim Cup sensation Charley Hull, ranked ninth on the Order of Merit, will be looking to record her first victory in China and, like Clyburn, competing to prove who is the best rookie on tour this year.
With five of this season’s tournament champions in the field, Australian Rebecca Artis, who won the Helsingborg Open, Germany’s Ann-Kathrin Lindner, who won the Honma Pilsen Golf Masters and Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord, who took the South African Open, will all be looking for repeat success this season.
Meanwhile British LET Life Members Trish Johnson and Laura Davies, who recently turned 50, will be looking to return to the winner’s podium.
Chinese LET rookie member Xiyu Lin, 17, will be one to watch having enjoyed previous success in the Sanya Ladies Open. She finished 9th as an amateur in 2010 aged 14 and 5th on her professional debut in 2011 aged 15.
There are also eight amateurs in the field who will also be looking to shine in the international spotlight including Chinese teenager Jing Yan, who completed a notable double in August by winning the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship at Prestwick, only a week after taking the British U-18s title.
Hole in One Prizes
The first professional or amateur player (participating in the Sanya Ladies Open) to score a Hole in One on the 11th Hole during the Pro-am or Rounds 1 – 3 of the Tournament will receive membership of Yalong Bay GC.
There is also a VIP weekend in the Renaissance Sanya Resort & Spa for the 1st Professional or Amateur to achieve a Hole in One on the 3rd Hole during the Pro-am or Rounds 1 – 3 of the Tournament.