Share this article

print logo

LPGA Championship looks wide open ; Taiwan's Tseng is seeking her second major title

The LPGA has a job opening and is hoping to fill it quickly. It is looking for a golfer to fill the star void left by the retirements of Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa.

The LPGA Championship will be played at Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford starting Thursday. The tournament will be held instead of the Wegmans LPGA this year because Wegmans jumped in to sponsor the major after McDonald's dropped the event.

The field is wide open going into the second major championship of the year. Yani Tseng of Taiwan will be seeking the elusive grand slam. Tseng won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April and is ranked fourth in the world.

Ai Miyazato from Japan is the new No. 1 player in the world rankings after winning the ShopRite LPGA Classic on Sunday. She already has four wins this year and sits atop the money list.

Miyazato dethroned South Korean Jiyai Shin, who took the top spot following Ochoa's retirement. Shin won the Wegmans LPGA last year, but has not competed in recent weeks due to an appendectomy.

Anna Nordqvist of Sweden is the defending champion at the LPGA Championship, and is ranked sixth in the world. Nordqvist has a pair of top-10 finishes this year, including a tie for second place at the State Farm Classic.

Wondering where the Americans sit in all this?

Cristie Kerr is ranked No. 5 in the world and the only American to win a tournament this year. Kerr is a tour veteran, joining in 1997, and has a chance to make a run for the top. Kerr set a tournament record of 266 at the State Farm Classic, topping the old mark of 270 set in 2008.

"That definitely motivates me to be the top American and top player on tour," Kerr told the Associated Press after her win.

Kerr's best finish at the Wegmans LPGA was fifth in 2008. Her best finish at the LPGA Championship was a tie for fifth in 1999 and 2006. Kerr has one major championship, winning the U.S. Women's Open in 2007.

Michelle Wie is among the top American players. She is ranked seventh in the world and has three top-10 finishes this year. Wie won her first LPGA title at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last November and had eight top-10 finishes in her rookie year.

Wie has yet to win a major, but has finished in the top three at least once in each of the four tournaments. Wie finished second at the LPGA Championship and tied for third at the Women's British Open in 2005, and tied for third at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and U.S. Women's Open in 2006.

Recently Wie has struggled in majors. Her best finish in a major since 2006 was a tie for 11th at the Women's British Open in 2009.

Two other Americans with a chance to shine are Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel. Creamer returned to LPGA action last week at the ShopRite Classic with a seventh-place finish. She has been recovering from thumb surgery since March.

Creamer is ranked 12th in the world and has eight career LPGA victories. Her best finish in a major was a tie for third at the LPGA Championship in 2005.

Pressel has three top-10 finishes in nine events this year. She is ranked 17th in the world.

One of Pressel's two career LPGA victories is a major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2007 when she was 18. Pressel is the youngest winner of a major tournament in LPGA Tour history.

Pressel missed the cut at last year's LPGA Championship, but tied for sixth in 2008. Her best finish at the Wegmans LPGA was a tie for eighth in 2007.

Locust Hill is expecting record crowds. Officials are estimating that there could be 25,000 fans each of the four days.

With the LPGA Championship this weekend and the U.S. Women's Open in early July, the next few weeks will be an opportunity for a player to establish credentials as the next major LPGA star. The world must wait and see if the Americans will be interviewing for it.

e-mail: abremer@buffnews.com

***

LPGA Championship

Course: Locust Hill Country Club, Pittsford, 6,506 yards, par 72.    

Sponsor: Wegmans.    

Purse: $2.25 million.    

Format: 72 holes, Thursday through Sunday. TV: Golf Channel, Thu.-Fri., 12:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 4 p.m.    

Tickets: Daily ticket, $35 ($65 for a tournament pass; $135 for a clubhouse pass). Call (585) 427-7100 or go to www.wegmanslpga.org.    

Directions from Buffalo: Take I-90 East toward Rochester. Take exit 46 to merge onto I-390 North toward Rochester. Take exit 14 for New York 15A/East Henrietta Road toward NY-252/Jefferson. Turn left at E. Henrietta Road/15A North. Take the first right onto NY-252 E. Jefferson Road. Course is on the left at 2000 Jefferson Road, Pittsford.    

Free Parking: RTS bus service to Locust Hill Country Club. Buses leave approximately every 20 minutes, beginning at 5:45 a.m. and running for one hour after completion of play. Shuttle Service is available at Monroe Community College and 1000 East Henrietta Road in designated areas.