Highly Anticipated Season Starts in Hawaii


2006 SBS OpenKAHUKU, Oahu, Hawaii - For the second straight year, the LPGA begins its official season in the beautiful state of Hawaii. And for 132 players, a flight across the Pacific Ocean to compete in the $1 million SBS Open at Turtle Bay on the island of Oahu is a perfect tonic to shake any lingering winter doldrums.
Morgan Pressel
Morgan Pressel officially begins her highly touted LPGA career this week in Hawaii.
The always exciting and at the same time cool and collected Jennifer Rosales is the defending champion and knows all to well what it is like to see her name atop of the ADT Official Money List after the first event of the season. She would like nothing more than to experience that feeling again and win her third career title, but a deep field has gathered at Turtle Bay and is poised to challenge her from the first tee to the last putt.
Leading that charge is a confident 19-year-old teenager named Paula Creamer. Whether it is winning tournaments around the world, capturing the 2005 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award or qualifying for the U.S. Solheim Cup Team, Creamer meets her goals head on and more often then not-like the three stated above-she usually accomplishes them.
With more than $1 million in earnings in her pocket from last year, Creamer's goal this year it to be the No. 1 player in the world. And with Annika Sorenstam-the 2005 Rolex Player of the Year, Vare Trophy winner and ADT Official Money List champion-opting not to play this week, Creamer has a head start on what figures to be an extremely competitive season.
However, Creamer is not the only player who is looking to make a splash to begin the year. Morgan Pressel and Ai Miyazato begin their highly anticipated LPGA careers this week and throngs of media, from south Florida to Japan, have followed.
At 17, the fiery Pressel is the youngest member of the Tour, but she plays well beyond her age. Last year, she tied for second at the U.S Women's Open conducted by the USGA as an amateur and never finished outside of the top 25 in any of the LPGA events she competed in. Her resume is decorated with amateur accolades from around country, but this week, she begins her career of playing for pay.
Miyazato is a rookie in name only. One of the most celebrated athletes in Japan-there is currently a 50-foot snow and ice sculpture depicting her likeness in Sapporo, Japan-brings her consistent game to the LPGA full-time after notching 11 wins over the previous two seasons while competing on the Japan LPGA.
Six-time LPGA winner and nine-year Tour veteran Cristie Kerr has to be considered one of the favorites this week. Kerr tied for second last year at the SBS Open and traditionally starts the season strong.
A year ago, Rosales set the pace early, opening with a tournament-record 66 (-6) in the first round. She followed it up with a 69 in the second round and then held off the field and survived some strong winds in the final round, closing with a 73. Kerr and then-amateur Michelle Wie tied for second.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - SBS Open at Turtle Bay
  • Golf Channel Airtimes