For months, the inaugural Fields Open in Hawaii has been on the radar screen of anyone with an ear to women's golf. A lot is on the line as 132 players will tee-up at the Ko Olina Golf Club, Feb. 23-25, for a chance to add to their ADT Points totals and claim a share of the $1.1 million purse.
With one tournament under their belts, most of the field from last week's SBS Open at Turtle Bay will make the short jaunt to Ko Olina. Joo Mi Kim, the first Rolex First-Time Winner on Tour in 2006, will be hoping to go two-for-two in Hawaii this year. Kim birdied both playoff holes to outlast fellow-South Korean Soo Young Moon and Mexico's Lorena Ochoa at last week's SBS Open at Turtle Bay.
Much has been made of the LPGA's rookie class and the young, fresh talent debuting on Tour this season. Last week's event illustrated just how ready these young guns are to challenge for tournament titles and for a spot in the season-ending ADT Championship. Case-in-point: Morgan Pressel, the youngest player on Tour at age 17, was the low rookie last week, tying for fifth with Miriam Nagl and Natalie Gulbis.
Paula Creamer, who finished second on the 2005 ADT Official Money List and is setting her sights on her first major win in 2006, finished last week tied for 13th and is hoping to record one win before meeting up with the only woman who topped her on the money list last year: Annika Sorenstam. Sorenstam, the only top-10 player from 2005 not competing in Hawaii, will have some catching up to do when she makes her season debut at the MasterCard Classic Honoring Alejo Peralta, as Tour standouts Cristie Kerr, Ochoa, Jeong Jang, Gulbis, Meena Lee, Hee-Won Han, Gloria Park and Catriona Matthew are competing this week and looking to take home the Fields Open trophy.
In addition to the excitement brought to the event by LPGA Tour members, Michelle Wie will make her highly anticipated 2006 LPGA Tour debut at the inaugural event in her home state. Wie, 16, is playing on a sponsor's exemption in one of eight appearances expected this season, her first full year as a professional.
The Fields Open is a points event. As part of the LPGA Playoffs 2006, the top-20 finishers on Tour this week will earn double ADT Points toward first half qualifying for the ADT Championship, the season-ending culmination of the LPGA Playoffs 2006.