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Feng and Ryu boost impressive line-up
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World No.6 Feng Shanshan will return to the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Haikou in early March.

China’s top player, Feng Shanshan, will be aiming to give her home fans plenty to cheer about after confirming she will play in next month’s World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Haikou.

Feng will be joined in the star-studded line-up by South Korean ace So Yeon Ryu, meaning the tournament will feature four of the world’s top six.

“I'm thrilled to be returning to Mission Hills Haikou for this fantastic event,” said Feng, the world No.6. “Having won the inaugural World Ladies Championship, the tournament will always hold a special place in my heart.

“I'm looking forward to playing in front of my home fans once more and will be aiming to put on a great show for them.”

Feng’s one-stroke victory over Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum at Mission Hills Haikou two years ago made her the first player from China to win on the Ladies European Tour (LET).

It was also her first significant victory in her home country and marked the beginning of an outstanding year.

In June 2012 she became the first Chinese golfer, male or female, to win a Major when she captured the LPGA Championship and she added her second LET victory in December at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters. She also won three times on the LPGA of Japan Tour.

World No.5 So Yeon Ryu will be making her first appearance in the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship in March

World No.5 Ryu will bring her Major-winning talents to Mission Hills Haikou for the first time.

“I have fond memories of playing and winning in China but I've never visited Mission Hills so I'm really looking forward to competing at this world-famous venue,” said Ryu, the 2011 US Women’s Open champion.

“Mission Hills and their partners are putting together a fantastic field for the World Ladies Championship and I'm especially relishing the chance to go up against the world’s best players.”

Ryu’s astonishing victory in the US Women’s Open rocketed her to stardom at the age of 21. Playing in just her third LPGA Tour event, she defeated compatriot Hee Kyung Seo in a playoff. She went on to claim her second LPGA Tour victory in 2012 at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.

Feng and Ryu will join a stellar line-up that already includes world No.1 Inbee Park and No.2 Suzann Pettersen, the defending champion.

The US$600,000 Mission Hills World Ladies Championship will be held on the challenging Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou, on the paradise island of Hainan, from 6-9 March.

Organised in conjunction with the China Golf Association and co-sanctioned by the China LPGA Tour, it will be the fourth event on this year’s LET schedule.

“It is fantastic news for the World Ladies Championship that we have four of the world’s top six players taking part,” commented Mission Hills Group Vice Chairman Mr Tenniel Chu.

“As we approach the tournament’s third edition, we have already secured our strongest field yet and we look forward to announcing more star players soon.”

The World Ladies Championship is unique in professional golf in that it consists of three events in one – an individual professional competition, a professional team championship in which 18 countries are represented by teams of two, and an individual amateur tournament.

Ryu’s confirmation means she and Park – winner of three Majors last year – will form a formidable combination for Korea in the team event. Park won the team competition last year with Ha Neul Kim and also finished runner-up to Pettersen in the individual tournament.

This year’s field has been boosted by the inclusion of Australia’s Su-Hyun Oh, currently the world’s third-ranked amateur, and her compatriot Minjee Lee, who is ranked fifth.

Lee, just 17, made headlines last week by finishing runner-up to Cheyenne Woods – niece of superstar Tiger Woods – in the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters in Australia.

The Mission Hills World Ladies Championship is co-sponsored by global services company American Express; Innovative Spirit from Paris, CAPSA New Generation Premium car brand – DS; premium Italian lifestyle brand FILA; and high-end, world-renowned bathroom brand TOTO.

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