Six of the best confirmed for NZ Women’s Open

 Yani Tseng, who was the winner of five major championships by the age of 22.  PHOTO: Photogolfer | Dreamstime

Yani Tseng, who was the winner of five major championships by the age of 22.  PHOTO: Photogolfer | Dreamstime

Six golfing stars, with 11 major championship titles between them, have confirmed their starts in the New Zealand Women’s Open in Auckland.
They are Yani Tseng (from Taiwan), Catriona Matthew (Scotland), Brittany Lincicome (USA) and  Na Yeon Choi, Eun-Hee Ji and Hyo Joo Kim (South Korea).
The open, sponsored by McKayson,  is to be staged at Windross Farm Golf Course in Ardmore, south of Auckland from September 28-October 1.
The super six have won 70 professional tournaments between them and earned more than $63 million in prizemoney to date in their illustrious careers. Collectively they have amassed 352 top-10 finishes between them on the LPGA Tour alone, an average of nearly 60 tournaments each.
The open’s tournament director Michael Goldstein said: “To have golfers who have won so many major championships between them is a testament to the quality of the field coming to New Zealand.
“Of course Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson, who have already confirmed their entry, add to this list of major championship  winners who will play and we are hoping for one or two more.
“They are proven champions in the women’s game, and it will be a privilege for New Zealand fans to watch these players of this calibre in action. It is a level of golf that has never been seen in this country before.”
Tseng was the youngest player either male or female, at 22 years, to win five majors and held the number one world ranking for 109 weeks, second only to Lorena Ochoa.
In that time she has won the US Women’s PGA Championship twice, the Women’s British Open twice and the ANA Inspiration.
Matthew, who splits her time between USA and Europe, has 11 tournament wins to her credit including the British Open in 2010 and four wins on the LPGA Tour.
She has amassed more than $13 million in her career off the back of more than 100 top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour alone.
Matthew has played in seven Solheim Cup competitions, played once every two years between USA and Europe, and was the vice-captain of the Europe team for last month’s contest in the United States.
She is excited about playing in New Zealand.
“It is one of the few places in the world that I’ve not been and always wanted to go to New Zealand so I am really looking forward to going down,’’ Matthew said.
``People say it is similar to Scotland so that is something I am keenly interested in.’’
Kim, 22, is one of the most exciting young players on tour, winning the Evian Championship in France as a teenager three years ago on the back of an LPGA Tour record 61 in her opening round. She has won three times on the LPGA Tour and 15 times as a professional around the world.
Lincicome, 31, is a two time major winner and likely to be one of the most popular players at the tournament, on the back of her big hitting game, which has earned her the nickname of BamBam.
She won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2009 before it morphed into the ANA Inspiration which she won in 2015. Along the way she has won seven times on the LPGA Tour including the opening event this year in the Bahamas.
Choi is another player with a remarkable record in the game, with her nine LPGA Tour wins including the US Women’s Open in 2012 and winning the Vare Trophy twice as leading money winner on the Tour.
The 29-year-old has won over $15 million in prizemoney, winning her first professional tournament in Korea at the age of 17 off the back of a stellar amateur career.
Her compatriot Eun-Hee Ji, 31, has enjoyed six wins as a professional including two on the LPGA highlighted by the US Women’s Open in 2009. She is a remarkably consistent player, making 23 of 25 cuts last year and this year has had at least four top-15 finishes.
Hospitality packages for the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open are now on sale. A limited number of four-day season passes are available at $99 plus booking fee. Single day passes are available at $39 for Thursday and Friday and $49 per day for Saturday and Sunday – both plus booking fee. All children 16 years and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult.