The battle for the coveted ‘Champion of Champions’ title heated up today when it was confirmed that the world’s top ten players will be in Singapore to compete for top honours at the 2010 HSBC Women’s Champions from 25-28 February.
Leading the charge are past champions and the world’s top two players for the 2009 season, Lorena Ochoa (1) of Mexico and Korean sensation Jiyai Shin (2). The remaining eight players in the top ten of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings are all champions from the past two seasons and will be eager to get the 2010 season off to a solid start as Singapore takes the second week on this year’s Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) calendar with a prize purse of US$1.3 million.
Joining the stellar line up will be the exciting 23 year old LPGA rookie Amanda Blumenherst who has been awarded one of the coveted sponsor’s invites at this year’s tournament. Blumenherst, from Arizona in the United States, turned professional in June 2009 following multiple accolades in her amateur career including the U.S. Women’s Amateur title in 2008 and the only three-time National Player of the Year at Duke University.
“I am very excited to have been invited to take part in the HSBC Women’s Champions and look forward to competing amongst the best players in the world,” said Blumenherst.
“I am really grateful to HSBC for giving me the opportunity to play with such an elite field and I am practising and training incredibly hard so that I can be ready for this fantastic opportunity to play alongside all these great champions.”
Acknowledged by golfing experts as a champion of the future, Blumenherst competed in the 2006 U.S, Women’s Open and tied for 10th position, sharing the amateur honours with Jane Park. At the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2008, Blumenherst finished in 30th spot and also helped the U.S. claim victory at the Curtis Cup in both years. During her first year as a professional, she played on the Futures Tour and recorded three top-ten finishes and went on to win the final stage of the LPGA Q-school to book her place as one of 28 rookies on the LPGA Tour in 2010.
That the world’s top ten are committed to next month’s HSBC Women’s Champions shows how firmly established the tournament is amongst the leading players. It also demonstrates the growth of the women’s golf across the globe with a mix of nationalities challenging at the top of the rankings. American compatriots Cristie Kerr (5), Paula Creamer (7), Angela Stanford (9) and Michele Wie (10) are joined by Scandinavian’s Suzann Pettersen (3) and Anna Nordvqist (4), Yani Tseng (6) from Taiwan and Japanese icon Ai Miyazato (8).
Miyazato, a finalist of the 2006 HSBC Women’s World Match play Championship, became a Rolex first-time winner at the Evian Masters in 2009 to escalate her position on the rankings and earn her automatic spot in Singapore this year and it is her second appearance in the HSBC Women’s Champions. Nordvqist was another first-time winner on Tour last year and the 2009 rookie will make her debut in the champion’s line-up after victory at both the McDonalds LPGA Championship and the LPGA Tour Championship.
Giles Morgan, HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship said, “Having all of the world’s elite players, shows what a worthy sister event the HSBC Women’s Champions is to the WGC-HSBC Champions and once again illustrates how our tournaments are spearheading the arrival of world-class golf in Asia. You just have to look at our recent winners – Phil Mickelson, Jiyai Shin, Sergio Garcia, Lorena Ochoa and Mickelson again – to know that this is the best golf you can possibly watch on this side of the planet.”
Morgan, continued, “Qualifying for either of the HSBC Champions tournaments is a reward for success at the very highest level in golf, but every now and then a person of such remarkable quality comes along that it becomes a pleasure to give them a helping hand. Amanda Blumenherst is obviously one of those people; not only has she had an unrivalled career in U.S. college golf, but she’s been an exceptional student. It shouldn’t be too long before she is qualifying for the HSBC Women’s Champions by right, but clearly she thoroughly deserves one of our invitations. I hope all the young girls who come to watch at Tanah Merah this year are made aware of her story, because she clearly can be a great inspiration to them.”
Robbie Henchman, Senior Vice President of the tournament promoters IMG explained, “The HSBC Women’s Champions is an opportunity for golfing fans to watch the best that ladies golf has to offer. We are thrilled welcoming the world’s top ten along with rising stars such as Amanda Blumenherst and our local amateur Joey Poh. The golfing world will soon believe Blumenherst is a champion in the making and it is fantastic that HSBC are committed to supporting golf across all levels which is shown through the sponsors invites and local qualifying entries in the 63 player line-up.”
A total of 63 players will tee-off for four days of stroke play at TMCC. Along with the two sponsors invites, the field will be completed by Singaporean amateur Joey Poh who won the two day Local Qualifying event earlier this month.