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LPGA headed toward grand finale in Orlando

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ORLANDO, Fla. – LPGA commissioner Mike Whan stood at his tour’s finish line Wednesday at Grand Cypress Golf Club.

Eight events remain before the women’s season turns toward Orlando for its season finale.

The CME Group Titleholders is the newest model in the tour’s attempt to cap its season with a big finish.

“The only way to get into this event is to play your way into it,” Whan said during a media day gathering.

All season long, LPGA pros have been qualifying for the championship, which will feature a $1.5 million purse and a $500,000 first-place check, a winner’s payday second only to the U.S. Women’s Open.

The three highest finishers in every official LPGA event this season who have not already qualified for the CME Group Titleholders earn spots in the Nov. 17-20 event. Whan likes how the event ties the tour’s season and marketing together with players representing the tournaments from which they qualified. He also likes the historic 'Titleholders' name, honoring a great event from the tour's past.

So far, 45 players have earned spots. World No. 1 Yani Tseng, Michelle Wie and Karrie Webb earned spots in the year’s first event, Na Yeon Choi and Morgan Pressel in the second, with Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr and Brittany Lincicome making it in the third. Ryann O’Toole, the rookie and unexpected American Solheim Cup pick, made it in the season’s 14th event.

Suzann Pettersen, Jiyai Shin, Ai Miyazato and Stacy Lewis are qualified. Most of the tour’s biggest names have locked up spots, but not all of them. Twenty-four openings are still to be filled in the 69-player field.

Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, American Solheim Cup member Christina Kim and European Solheim Cup member Laura Davies are among those still looking to claim spots over the final eight events. Katherine Hull, Beatriz Recari and Kristy McPherson also continue to try to play their way into the field.