Michelle Koh and Ainil Bakar will team up for Malaysia in next week’s World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Dongguan in China.
While the US$800,000 tournament is primarily an individual strokeplay compeition, it has a unique three-in-one format with a team event for pairs and an individual amateur tournament running simultaneously. The championship is sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour [LET], the China LPGA and now the Korean LPGA as well.
Following a 36-hole cut, the top-60 players and ties in the individual event will qualify for the final two rounds on the acclaimed Olazabal Course, a three-time venue for the World Cup of Golf and designed by two-times Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal. The leading 10 teams and those tied will progress to compete over the weekend.
Jin-young Ko and Jung Min Lee will aim to continue South Korea’s success story in the event, having dominated both the individual and team events at Mission Hills Haikou for the last four years. Inbee Park won the individual strokeplay in 2014, while So Yeo Ryu pipped her by one stroke 12 months ago. South Korean teams have held the team trophy since 2013, when Na-Heul Kim lifted the trophy with Park. The former world number one then paired with Ryu to victory in 2014 and 2015.
With World Ranking points available, a strong finish will boost many of the players’ chances of qualifying for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Danish Olympic hopefuls Nicole Broch Larsen and Emily Kristine Pedersen, who were the 2015 Players’ Player and Rookie of the Year respectively, are expected to form a formidable partnership. Meanwhile another Olympic prospect, Gwladys Nocera, will represent France with Celine Herbin.
The home nation of China has two fine teams. Olympic hopeful Xiyu Lin partners Yanhong Pan, while Ziqi Ye forms another compelling team with Weiwei Zhang.
There are three teams from Great Britain. Hannah Burke and Florentyna Parker will represent England while Pamela Pretswell and Sally Watson will pair up for Scotland. Wales also has a strong team with Amy Boulden partnering Becky Morgan.
Australia will be represented by Rebecca Artis and Sarah Kemp, Chinese Taipei by Tzu-Chi Li and Ai-Chen Kuo, Finland by Ursula Wikstrom and Noora Tamminen, South Africa by Connie Chen and Nicole Garcia, Sweden by Camilla Lennarth and Lina Boqvist and Thailand by Wichanee and Kusuma Meechai.
The individual amateur tournament will feature three of China’s top amateurs: Man Jin, Yunjie Zhang and Yan Liu along with Hannah McCook from Scotland.
The World Ladies Championship continues its long-standing partnership with the world’s leading renowned global services brand, American Express.