LPGA’s Kia Classic to Hold Pre-Qualifying Event

Defending Champion Sandra Gal of Germany
Defending Champion Sandra Gal of Germany

The LPGA’s Kia Classic announced today that it will hold its annual open pre-qualifying tournament on Thursday, March 1 at La Costa Resort and Spa, giving amateur female golfers the opportunity to potentially play alongside touring professionals in an official LPGA event.
All amateur female golfers with a handicap of 2 or lower are eligible to compete in the pre-qualifier. Interested players must send their name, phone number, handicap, and GHIN or other verifiable handicap information to Kia Classic marketing coordinator Chad Seufert at [email protected] by Feb. 24 to register. The entry fee is $50, and qualified applicants will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. The March 1 pre-qualifier will be played on La Costa’s South Course, with tee times starting at approximately 7 a.m.
The two players with the lowest scores from the March 1 pre-qualifier will earn automatic entry into the official Kia Classic Monday qualifier on March 19, normally reserved for LPGA members only. The top two players from the Monday qualifier on March 19 will earn entry into the 144-player field for the Kia Classic, to be played March 22-25 at La Costa and the LPGA’s first full-field event in the United States in 2012.
“This is a terrific opportunity for some of the top young golfers from San Diego and beyond to test themselves and their games,” said Dennis Baggett, the Kia Classic’s tournament director. “We’re looking forward to offering the chance for two players to earn their way into the Monday qualifier and potentially play alongside the best female players in the world.
South Korea’s Hee Kyung Seo captured the 2010 Kia Classic at La Costa, carding a 12-under-par 276 (70-67-69-70) to win by six strokes. The victory granted her LPGA membership for the following season, when she won the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award. With La Costa undergoing a $50 million renovation, the Kia Classic moved to the Los Angeles area in 2011, and Germany’s Sandra Gal birdied the final (72nd) hole of regulation to secure a one-shot victory over Jiyai Shin. Gal shot 16-under-par 276 (67-68-70-71) for her first career LPGA victory. The tournament returns in 2012 to La Costa, a venue that has hosted numerous professional golf tournaments throughout the years.
The Kia Classic will bring the world’s best female golfers to La Costa in competition for a $1.7 million purse and $255,000 winner’s check. Tournament week will feature the Monday qualifier, practice rounds Monday and Tuesday, a Wednesday pro-am and four competitive rounds Thursday-Sunday.
Tickets are available at www.kiaclassic.com or by calling 1-888-SEE-LPGA. Kia Classic fans can follow the tournament through social media. The Kia Classic’s Facebook page (search “Kia Classic”) and Twitter feed (@LPGAKiaClassic) allow fans to keep up on pre-tournament and tournament-week news, see exclusive photos and enter various contests for the chance to win Kia Classic tickets and other prizes.

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