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2018 Taiwan LPGA Tour | CTBC Ladies Classic 29– 31 Mar Press Conference Notes
Date:2018-03-28

The TLPGA Tour will swing back into action this Thursday with the 2018 CTBC Ladies Classic kickstarting at Guangzhou’s Nine Dragon Lake Golf Club. The player topping the 126-woman field representing 14 countries in the 54-hole stroke-play event will earn RMB120,000 in a total purse of RMB800,000.

In its second edition after three years, the CTBC Ladies Classic continues to share a special cross-strait friendship with its status as a co-sanctioned event by the TLPGA Tour and the China LPGA Tour, title-sponsored by the Taiwan-based CTBC Bank.

There will be 126 golfers (including 12 amateurs) teeing off tomorrow who have gathered from 14 countries; 31 from China, 38 from Taiwan, and 36 from Thailand. The field is comprised of 45 TLPGA Tour members, 68 on the CLPGA Tour, and 13 sponsor invitees.

Among the honorary guests in today’s press conference are vice chairman of the Guangdong Province Golf Association and director of Guangdong Province Golf Center Xiong Feng, CTBC Bank vice chairman Morris Li, TLPGA chairwoman Cheng Mei-Chi, CLPGA Tour managing director Jennifer Lee, and managing director of the Nine Dragon Lake Golf Club Fuzhen Wu.

The CTBC Bank have been furthering its cooperation with the CLPGA Tour since 2014 as well as strengthening a positive cross-strait connection, and have witnessed the emergence of a great number of leaders in today’s game. Feng Shanshan (馮姍姍), a CTBC Bank spokesplayer, became the first Chinese golfer to ever win an Olympic medal in 2016, later ascending to the top in the world rankings in late 2017 – also a never-been-achieved feat among her country women.

“We have special roots here in Guangzhou because our amazing ambassador Shanshan is a Guangzhou native and the CTBC Bank actually was the first Taiwanese bank permitted in Guangzhou,” said Morris Li. “We feel extremely honored to again join forces with the CLPGA to put on such a high-level international tournament, continue the joint certification by the cross-strait tours, and let the world see what our players are capable of.”

“We are delighted to play host to the 126 professional elites coming this week. Our staff has been working diligently from February to get the course in its best shape in hopes to impress all participants,” said Zhenfu Wu.

“This year marks already ten years since the establishment of the China LPGA Tour. We have around 300 international players, been able to offer world ranking points since 2013, and especially in 2018 we have moved from tier-1 to tier-2 in the system, meaning we’re able to provide even richer ranking points which will substantially improve the presence of our members on a more global perspective," said Jennifer Lee.

“Once again I would like to express my thanks to our sponsors and friends in the community to make this event happen again in a city full of cultural heritage as Guangzhou,” said Cheng Mei-Chi. “I hope players from the Taiwan Tour and China Tour can both learn valuable experiences and encourage each other to make our marks on even higher stages.”

The cross-strait exchanges can date back to as early as 2004 when Xiamen Orient Masters invited Taiwanese golfers. In 2009, the Orient Cup for cross-strait women was held at Taiwan’s Orient Golf Club. Starting in 2014, the CTBC Ladies Open became an official tournament on the tour calendars. The CTBC Ladies Classic also hit the schedule in 2015 in Shanghai.

The CTBC Bank has been developing the “Next-Gen Golf” program and supported Tour players by sponsorships and hosting professional events since 2011. The big names in the roaster of CTBC ambassadors collectively collected eight professional golf titles in 2017. Teresa Lu (盧曉晴) raced to her 16th Japan LPGA Tour victory last year, adding four wins to her name in just one season. Feng Shanshan was a three-time winner on the 2017 LPGA circuit, writing her personal record of most titles in a single year. Taiwanese Hsieh Yu-Ling (謝瑀玲), Yeh Hsin-Ning (葉欣寧), and Beijing native Shi Yuting (石昱婷) will look to shine in their second attempt at the event.

Shi’s 16-year-old younger sister, Shi Yuli (石昱莉), is also in the field this week. Other notable names include Thai duo, 2017 CLPGA Tour Money Winner Saraporn Chamchoi, and her compatriot Chonlada Chayanun, who lifted her first pro trophy last weekend in Zhuhai at the Hengqin Phoenix Tree Building Orient Golf Challenge. Also, Tahnia Ravnjak, who won the CLPGA Tour qualifying tournament last month, will lead the charge of some promising new comers such as China’s Zhang Yue (張玥) and Taiwan’s Peng Chieh (彭婕).

Eight from the top-10 and seventeen from the top-20 on the TLPGA Tour money leaderboard will be among the list as well.

First-round play will begin at 7:20 a.m. on the first and tenth tees; the afternoon wave will tee off at 12:00.

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