OUT­STAND­ING EIGHT MA­JOR WINNERS HEAD TO NEW ZEALAND

Some great play­ers will be head­ing to New Zealand for the NZWO.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENTS - WORDS BY IAN HEPENSTALL

The eight play­ers are all Ma­jor winners - in fact they have 14 Ma­jor wins be­tween them and more than NZ$88 mil­lion in prize­money - and all are com­pet­ing at the NZ$1.85 mil­lion event at Win­dross Farm golf course in Auck­land from 28 September to 1 Oc­to­ber.

Two of Amer­ica's stars from their Sol­heim Cup victory over Europe - vet­eran Paula Creamer and young gun Danielle Kang - were the last of the big names to con­firm their en­tries for New Zealand.

They join Tai­wan's Yani Tseng, Scot­land's Ca­tri­ona Matthew, Amer­i­can Brit­tany Lin­ci­come, Korea's Na Yeon Choi, Canada's Brooke Hen­der­son and tour­na­ment host Ly­dia Ko as Ma­jor winners.

Creamer, the cur­rent queen of women's golf, is a 12-time win­ner who has amassed more than $NZ 16 mil­lion in prize­money as well as con­sid­er­able spon­sor­ship en­dorse­ments as one of the most recog­nis­able fig­ures in women's golf.

The 31 year old Creamer joined the LPGA as a teenager, win­ning in her first year to be­come the youngest win­ner of a mul­ti­ple-round tour­na­ment, which stood un­til 2011. She claimed her Ma­jor at the US Women's Open in 2010 with her last win com­ing at the HSBC Women's Cham­pi­ons in 2014.

Kang, 24, won her first Ma­jor with victory in the KPMG PGA Cham­pi­onship this year, push­ing her into the top-20 in the world on the Rolex World Rank­ings.

The young Amer­i­can had a stel­lar am­a­teur ca­reer, win­ning the US Am­a­teur in 2010 and 2011 and was the low am­a­teur at the Bri­tish Open in 2011.

She played with New Zealand's Liv Cheng while at Pep­per­dine Univer­sity in Los An­ge­les be­fore gain­ing full play­ing rights on the LPGA in 2013, with two top-10s in 2014 and three top-10s in 2016 be­fore the tri­umph at the KPMG Women's PGA Cham­pi­onship in Illi­nois where she beat Hen­der­son by a shot.

Creamer and Kang played key roles in the Sol­heim Cup victory over Europe, with Creamer com­ing in as a re­place­ment to pro­vide key vic­to­ries, while rookie Kang showed her ca­pa­bil­i­ties, se­lected for the an­chor role in the fi­nal day of sin­gles.

Creamer, the cur­rent queen of women’s golf, is a 12-time win­ner who has amassed more than $NZ 16 mil­lion in prize­money as well as con­sid­er­a­ble­spon­sor­ship en­dorse­ments as one of the most recog­nis­able fig­ures in women’s golf.

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, and five weeks more than Ko. 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. She has amassed more than NZ$13m in her ca­reer on the back of more than 100 top-10 fin­ishes on the LPGA, and also played in the Sol­heim Cup.

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 in­clud­ing the open­ing event this year in the Ba­hamas, and played in her sixth Sol­heim Cup last month.

Choi is an­other player with a re­mark­able record in the game, with her nine LPGA wins in­clud­ing the US Women's Open in 2012. She won hon­ours as lead­ing money win­ner and the Vare Tro­phy for low scor­ing av­er­age in 2010.

The 29 year old has won over NZ$15 mil­lion in earn­ings, with her first pro­fes­sional tour­na­ment victory in Korea at just 17 on the back of a stel­lar am­a­teur ca­reer.

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.

Hen­der­son, 19, al­ready has four pro­fes­sional wins to her credit in­clud­ing her break­through victory when she beat Ko in a play­off to claim her first Ma­jor, the 2016 Women's PGA Cham­pi­onship.

And let's not for­get the re­mark­able ca­reer to date of the 20-year-old Ko, who was world num­ber one for a re­mark­able 104 weeks and in her very short but me­te­oric rise in the sport, has al­ready won 14 times in­clud­ing two Ma­jors along with 60 top-10 LPGA fin­ishes.

While she has taken some time to ad­just to swing changes and new clubs, Ko's key statis­tics are close to what is needed to re­turn to the winners' cir­cle.

“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,” said tour­na­ment direc­tor Michael Gold­stein.

“We have a large num­ber of proven cham­pi­ons in the women's game com­pet­ing in Auck­land, and it will be a priv­i­lege for New Zealand fans to watch play­ers of this cal­i­bre in ac­tion. It is a level of golf that has never been seen in this coun­try be­fore.

“Our field has so many in­cred­i­ble play­ers; so many who played in the Sol­heim Cup for both USA and Europe and some very ex­cit­ing young play­ers. And let's not for­get that New Zealand's best pro­fes­sion­als and am­a­teurs get this amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity to play in the big­gest women's golf tour on the globe.”

While she has taken some time to ad­just to swing changes and new clubs, Ko’s key statis­tics are close to what is needed to re­turn to the winners’ cir­cle.

Danielle Kang.

Paula Creamer.

Yani Tseng.

Brit­tany Lin­ci­come.

Na Yeon Choi.

Brooke M. Hen­der­son.

Ly­dia Ko.

Ca­tri­ona Matthew.

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