LPGA’s best tee it up in Carlsbad

The LPGA’s Kia Classic returns to La Costa Resort and Spa this week, and the tournament features all the household names of women’s professional golf for San Diego County golf and sports fans to revel in.
Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 1 and 14-time LPGA winner Yani Tseng, already an LPGA double-winner in 2012, is among nine of the world’s top 10 female golfers in the field at the $1.7 million Kia Classic, this year’s first full-field LPGA event in the United States. The third-annual, 72-hole tournament includes top-10 women’s golfers Na Yeon Choi, Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Ai Miyazato, Jiyai Shin, Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome.
Americans Angela Stanford, Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie and LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb are among 20 of the top 25 players in the world in the field.
The Kia Classic, which offers a $255,000 winner’s check, is also headlined by 17-year-old Lexi Thompson, who became the youngest player to win an LPGA event when she won the 2011 LPGA Navistar Classic by five strokes at 16 years, 8 months and 8 days old. Defending champion Sandra Gal of Germany and 2010 Kia Classic champion Hee Kyung Seo are also in the field.
Kia Classic golfers with local ties who San Diego, Orange and Riverside County golf fans can conveniently follow in-person include Rancho Santa Fe resident and  World No. 11 I.K. Kim, Carlsbad High graduate Leta Lindley, Carlsbad resident Jennifer Johnson, Rancho Bernardo High graduate Tiffany Joh, Temecula native Sydnee Michaels and San Clemente High graduate Ryann O’Toole.
“We’re thrilled to have such a strong field for the Kia Classic, and to bring world-class women’s golf back to the great fans of San Diego County,” Kia Classic tournament director Dennis Baggett said. “As the 2012 LPGA’s first full-field tournament in the U.S., we expect another highly competitive and exciting event.”
The Kia Classic field includes 36 of the world’s top 50 women’s golfers and all three champions from the LPGA’s first four events of the year. Tseng, the current LPGA Official Money List leader, won last week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup and the Honda LPGA Thailand last month. Stanford won the HSBC Women’s Champions event, and American Jessica Korda, 19, won the season-opening ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
Tickets are available at www.kiaclassic.com or by calling 1-888-SEE-LPGA. Daily grounds passes are $15 for Wednesday’s pro-am day and $25 per day for competition rounds (Thursday-Sunday), and weekly grounds passes are just $50. Terrace club passes are $40 per day and $100 for the week.
Children 17 and under will receive free admission to the Kia Classic when accompanied by a paid adult. Active military members and their immediate families will be admitted free with military ID.

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