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2018 Taiwan LPGA Tour | CTBC Ladies Open 30 Aug – 1 Sep Press Conference Notes
Date:2018-08-27

CTBC Bank ambassador and current Taiwanese no.1 Teresa Lu (盧曉晴) is set to compete at the 7th edition of the CTBC Ladies Open. The Tong Hwa Golf Club will be the backdrop this week.

The NT$5 million event will be played through 54 holes from Aug 30 to Sep 1, with a stroke-play format and a cut after 36 holes to the top-50 and ties. The 2018 CTBC Ladies Open will be the first TLPGA tournament to be counted into the qualification, which runs from Jul 8 this year, for golf at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Lu, the 2016 winner in this event and the first runner-up last year, played a subpar season to her standard so far in 2018, but still has made six top-10 finishes including two runner-up appearances.

Lu shifted her focus onto the Japan Tour in 2013 and made her mark right away as she finished the season as high as no.3 and remained in the top league ever since, collecting 16 wins in total under her belt. She is now ranked no.13 on the JLPGA Tour’s 2018 Money List.

2014 champion Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro and 2012 champion Numa Gulyanamitta are both looking to repeat their magic. Their Thai compatriots Chonlada Chayanun, no.4 on the China LPGA Tour and the winner of the Hengqin Phoenix Tree Building Orient Golf Challenge this March, and Renuka Suksukont, a decorated titlist on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour and the TLPGA Tour, will also tee it up this weekend.

Set at 6,703 yards long in this year’s competition, the distance will post a big challenge to the contestants. China’s Shi Yuting (石昱婷), who just finished an 18-hole practice, said that the precision with the approaches will play a huge factor in the outcome, as well as the ability to stay composed on the greens, as she expected players will face many long putts.

“It’s a tough layout this year. I’m just trying to stay as positive as I can and hoping for a nice finish,” said Shi. “There is still plenty to be cheerful about since this is my sponsor’s (CTBC Bank) event, so I’ve received a very warm welcome. It’s great to see the familiar faces again. I hope I can play well to make them proud.”

The 20-year-old Beijing native just defended her title this May at the Le Coq Sportif Beijing Ladies Classic, her third career victory. Shi, ranked no.7 on the CLPGA Tour money list, will be seen as a one of the strong contenders along with Chinese no.5 Sui Xiang (隋响), no.18 Zhang Jienalin (張婕娜琳), and no.19 Yang Taoli (楊濤麗).

Taiwan’s Hsieh Yu-Ling (謝瑀玲) and Yeh Hsin-Ning (葉欣寧), who also joined the pre-tournament presser, agreed that it would require tremendous patience especially on the second shots. “The total distance is at least 300 to 400 yards long than it was in the past. Now, I must pick up bigger irons or even woods for my second shots. It’s fortunate that the greens look very well-conditioned,” said Yeh.

On Monday’s press conference, CTBC Bank president C.C. Tung offered some encouragement for local players to keep their faith and strive to make things happen. “The CTBC Bank is proud to continue to pave the foundation stone for the development of the Taiwanese golf,” he said. “This will be CTBC Ladies Open in its seventh year. We have seen the rise of many young players who are now becoming a real force on the global scene.”

The tee-off ceremony saw Tung, TLPGA chairwoman Cheng Mei-Chi, guests of honors and player representatives filling red and white golf balls into a heart-shaped container, an analogy that the event has long been lending the power of sports to the support for charitable causes.

Tomorrow there will be a traditional 18-hole pro-am; for every birdie, eagle, or ace made during the day, the CTBC Bank will make a cash donation to the CTBC Charity Foundation to endow 24 local youth baseball teams. On Wednesday, CTBC Bank spokesplayers will be sharing their swinging tips and instruct, face-to-face, 30 elementary school children in a golf clinic event.

The “Next-Gen Golf” program by the CTBC Bank has supported Tour players by means of sponsorships and hosting professional events since 2011. The CTBC Ladies Open was first launched on the 2012 TLPGA Tour. In 2014, the prize purse was raised from NT$3 million to NT$5 million.

The first round of play will begin on Friday with 108 players from 10 countries and regions will tee off at the Tong Hwa course, including 18 of TLPGA Tour’s top-20 and 13 CLPGA Tour members. Among the notable names from event host Taiwan are no.1 Lee Hsin (李欣), no.2 Chen Yu-Ju (陳宇茹), no.3 Chen Min-Jou (陳敏柔), no.4 Chen Szu-Han (陳思涵), and no.8 Huang Ching (黃靖).

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