Women’s golf adds to Jeju’s weekend appealIf you happen to be on Jeju Island next weekend, and if you happen to have a yen for women’s golf, you could do worse than to head over to the Nine Bridges golf course.
The CJ Nine Bridges Classic is a rare opportunity to see top women golfers, such as the world’s most lucrative champion, Annika Sorenstam, show their stuff in Korea. This year, the event will feature a roster of rising stars, including the rookie-of-the-year, Paula Creamer.
Of the over 30 Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour matches held every year, CJ Nine Bridge Classic ranks ninth, with a total of $1.34 million in prize money. Most of the participants are ranked in the world’s top 50 ― except for 12 from Korea and Japan and seven invited from other areas.
The Korean golfers include the defending champion, Grace Park; British Women’s Open champion Jang Jeong; U.S. Women’s Open champion Birdie Kim; Office Depot Championship winner Han Hee-won; Safeway Classic Champion Kang Soo-yun; Canadian Women’s Open champion Lee Mee-na, and LPGA Corning Classic winner Kang Ji-min.
The three-round, 54-hole event begins next Friday at the Nine Bridges Golf Course (www.ninebridges.co.kr). The September issue of the U.S. golf monthly Golf Magazine ranked the course 95th in its “Top 100 Golf Courses in the World.”
The golfers will start arriving on the semi-tropical island and participate in practice rounds between next Monday and Wednesday, while an event for both pros and amateurs will be held next Thursday.
The question on everyone’s mind will be whether last year’s champion, Grace Park, can defend her title. In 2004, Park won the event by five shots (66-69-65) over Sorenstam and Carin Koch, taking home $202,500 in prize money. This also marked Park’s first victory in a domestic event since her professional debut.
Korean golfers have been particularly strong in the classic, the only LPGA event held in Korea. Ahn Shi-hyun won the event in 2003 and Pak Se-ri won the first CJ Nine Bridges Classic in 2002.
Sorenstam carded an 18 under 270 to win the Samsung World Championship in Hawaii last Sunday, and has won a total of eight LPGA events this year. In second place was 19-year-old Paula Creamer, who turned pro this year, has already won two events, the Sybase Classic and Evian Masters, and has had 10 top-10 finishes.
by Limb Jae-un
Tickets for the first and second round cost 30,000 won, and for the final third round, 40,000 won.
To purchase a ticket, go to www.ticketlink.co.kr or call 1588-7890.