With a tour schedule that includes 37 events in 10 countries, the women of the LPGA are ready to embark on their first of three weeks in Asia. Haikou West Golf Club hosts the 63-player field, which is comprised of 51 LPGA members, eight players as selected by the China Golf Association and four sponsor invitations.
The leading players from the Rolex Rankings are well represented in this week's field, led by world No. 2 and three-time 2008 winner Annika Sorenstam, who will make her first and final appearance at the $1.8 million event before she steps away from competitive golf at the end of this year.
From the Rolex Rankings top-10, Sorenstam is joined by third-ranked Yani Tseng, 2008 McDonald's LPGA Championship winner; fourth-ranked Suzann Pettersen; 2008 Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi champion Cristie Kerr (6th); Evian Masters champion Helen Alfredsson (8th); and 10th-ranked Seon Hwa Lee, who has notched two victories this season.
This year has been a momentous one for LPGA rookie Shanshan Feng, of China. Feng, the second LPGA member (Li Ying Ye, 2005) but first exempt member from China, has stepped up her play in the past few weeks leading up to the event with four top-four finishes since July.
Feng is sure to be a fan favorite at the inaugural Grand China Air LPGA. She, along with last week's Kapalua LPGA Classic winner Morgan Pressel will be teaming up for a media exhibition at the Hainan airport on Tuesday to hit golf balls off the wing of a jet, as a way to symbolize the start of the Grand China Air LPGA.
As LPGA members head into the home stretch of the season, performances count as much as ever as players will continue to make strides in the standings for Rolex Player of the Year, Vare Trophy, Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year and ADT Points.
The $270,000 winner's check at this week's Grand China Air LPGA also equates to 270,000 ADT Points, which could be the difference in whether a player can make the field for the ADT Championship, where the winner earns $1 million.