Lotte to host LPGA event in Hawaii

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Lotte to host LPGA event in Hawaii

Korean conglomerate Lotte Group will host a U.S. LPGA Tour tournament in Hawaii this spring, officials of the group and the tour said yesterday.

In a ceremony here, the two sides signed a three-year partnership for the LPGA Lotte Championship. The inaugural tournament will take place from April 18 to 21 on the Ko Olina Golf Club on Oahu. The course previously hosted the tour’s Hawaiian Ladies Open and the LPGA Fields Open.

A field of 144 players will vie for a total purse of $1.7 million. The event will fall two weeks after the season’s first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Michael Whan, commissioner of the LPGA Tour, said the partnership will be mutually beneficial.

“As Lotte sets its sights on global expansion, we couldn’t be more proud to be their business partner in this venture, and we look forward to spreading their brand and other businesses together on a global stage,” Whan said. “We look forward to showcasing literally the best female players on the planet.”

The tournament will end on Saturday, an unusual arrangement for a four-round event. Whan explained that the Saturday finish will ensure that fans in Korea and other parts of Asia will get to see the final round on Sunday in their own respective time zones.

Lotte Group, which has affiliates in retailing and hotels, also hosts Korean LPGA events and sponsors local players.

The Lotte Championship will be one of three LPGA tournaments sponsored by a Korean firm. In March, Kia Motors sponsors the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, California. Hana Bank also hosts the Hana Bank Championship in Incheon. Yonhap

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