This year's Mission Hills event in China takes place this coming week, March 12th - 15th. The defending champion is Inbee Park, who last year memorably beat Suzann Pettersen in a head-to-head Sunday battle (I told you Inbee was good at those Sunday match ups!).
Inbee and Pettersen are returning. Also in the field this week will be KLPGA starlet Shin Ae Ahn, the LPGA's own So Yeon Ryu (who finished third last year), Australia's Su Hyun Oh, KLPGA star Min Young Lee, and China's immortal Babe Liu.
It’s not often that you get to stop traffic in China, but that’s what Mission Hills did on Wednesday as they closed the road for the world’s top golfers to hit shots on Haikou’s iconic Century Bridge.
To signal the start of the fourth edition of the World Ladies Championship, starting on Thursday over the world renowned Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Resort Haikou on tropical Hainan Island, the players struck a ceremonial gong with their golf clubs.
World No.2 Inbee Park, who is the defending champion, world No.5 Suzann Pettersen, who won the event in 2013, world No.8 So Yeon Ryu and the recent Sanya Ladies Open champion Xi Yu Lin, who is China’s second ranked female golf professional, were accompanied by Mr Tenniel Chu, vice chairman of Mission Hills Group.
Being ranked 226th in the world has its privileges, LOL:
No. 2 and No. 226 are planting a tree for Arbor Day
Accuweather predicts rain & drizzle for Thursday, but dry the rest of the way. Temps will rise each day: 73, 79, 84 & 90.
Anyone know if there's a streaming link to watch this one? On a related note, SBS Golf will carry the 2nd and Final rounds of Yokohama Tire Golf Tournament PRGR Ladies Cup this weekend. Unfortunately, my SBS Golf video link doesn't seem to work anymore (I've tried it with IE and Mozilla). Maybe some security hang-up on my PC, or maybe there's a new link.
Meanwhile, they're not finished rolling out the red carpet...from Mission Hills China on FB:
Korean golfer Ahn Shin Ae replicates her pose on a tournament billboard during practice for this week's World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Haikou in China. Ahn is one of the stars of the Ladies European Tour and China LPGA Tour co-sanctioned event together with her compatriots, world No.2 Inbee Park and world No.8 So Yeon Ryu, and Norway's Suzann Pettersen, the world No.5. The World Ladies Championship tees off on Thursday on the signature par-73 Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou, which is located on the Chinese tropical island of Hainan.
Round One is in the books: 1 Becky Morgan F -4 1 Inbee Park F* -4 3 Xiyu Lin F -2 3 Pavarisa Yoktuan F -2 3 Shin-Ae Ahn F* -2 3 Nontaya Srisawang F -2 7 So Yeon Ryu F -1 7 Rebecca Artis F -1 7 Alexandra Vilatte F -1 7 Trish Johnson F* -1
Shin Ae Ahn
So Yeon Ryu
Other notables: Suzanne Pettersen E Melissa Reid E Carin Koch +2 Bo Mi Suh +4 (was an early leader at -2, then took a nine on a par-4) Carly Booth +8 Min Young Lee WD
Great job by Inbee! Apparently the afternoon session had easier conditions than the morning, and she took advantage. Ahn was also in the afternoon, but Ryu had a morning tee time, so for her to shoot under par despite that was a great effort.
1 Inbee Park F -8 2 Holly Clyburn F -7 2 Xiyu Lin F* -7 4 Becky Morgan F* -3 4 Jienalin Zhang F* -3 4 Alexandra Vilatte F* -3 7 Nicole Broch Larsen F* -2 7 Nontaya Srisawang F* -2 7 Rebecca Artis F* -2 10 Shin-Ae Ahn F -1
SY Ryu and S. Pettersen are also -1.
IBP is probably teasing the next two on the board
Sharon's on track to improve on that 226 ranking
Ha Ha, did Inbee and Sharon agree that today was an all white day?
I think Clyburn was the winner of an ALPG event last week, so she's obviously on a bit of a roll. Xi Yu Lin is the top Chinese player in the field, so should be a fun weekend for the local fans. Of course, I'm thinking this is a great position for Inbee to be in, and I hope she keeps up her great play for two more days!
Alas, So Yeon didn't really bring it today, but she still has an outside chance to win if she can go low on Moving Day (she did finish third here last year, so you know she has some positive memories to build on).
Korea is leading the team competition by three shots over China's A Team (which includes Xi Yu Lin but not Mr. T).
The de facto winner of the amateur competition is China's Lei Ye, the only am to make the cut. She is 13 years old (!!).
Chinese golf is going to be amazing in about 10 years. It seems like every great amateur from China, both in the men's and women's game, are about 13 years old. That country is ready to explode in this game.
In the meantime, it seems like Korea dominates this event every year. Inbee loves Mission Hills. I'm surprised, though, to see So Yeon so far back. It's been a bit of a disappointing 2015 for her so far.
Pos PLAYER Hole Score 1 Inbee Park F -10 2 So Yeon Ryu F -9 3 Suzann Pettersen F -7 3 Xiyu Lin F -7 5 Rebecca Artis F -6 5 Holly Clyburn F -6 7 Ursula Wikstrom F -5 7 Pamela Pretswell F -5 9 Pei-Yun Chien F -3 9 Shin-Ae Ahn F -3
All of a sudden IBP has two monsters hot on her heels...time to find a phone booth and change into her Sunday white pants.