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2019 Taiwan LPGA Tour | CTBC Ladies Open 15 – 17 Aug Press Conference Notes
Date:2019-08-12

Thai Chonlada Chayanun is ready for her title defense campaign at the CTBC Ladies Classic, which begins on Thursday at the Linkou Golf Club.

108 elite golfers from nine countries will be jostling their way through three-rounds, 54 holes, to vie for the lucrative NT$1 million top prize in the NT$5 million event co-sanctioned by the TLPGA Tour and the China LPGA Tour.

On Saturday, a winner representing Taiwan or China would win an extra paper of yearly sponsorship contract with the CTBC Bank.

“Stick to your faith, then achieve your dream; it’s not just a corporate slogan, but a spirit we would want to bring into various fields, and sport being one of them,” said CTBC Bank vice chairman Morris Li. “Golf especially, has a deep connection within the CTBC Bank. We’ve been eagerly supportive to golf development in Taiwan, and we’re delighted to see these incredible women making impact on the global scenes.”

The “Next-Gen Golf” program has long been a focus by the Taiwan-based corporation, supporting Tour players by means of sponsorships and hosting professional events since 2011. The CTBC Ladies Open was first staged on the TLPGA Tour in 2012.

The prize purse of the CTBC Ladies Open got a big boost from NT$3 million to NT$5 million in 2014, the year when the tournament became a fixture also on the China LPGA Tour.

Defending champion Chayanun will banner the ambitious 30-women contingent form Thailand, the second largest after host Taiwan. At the past seven stagings of the CTBC Ladies Open, the Thai has come victorious four times, the Taiwanese won twice, and the other victory went to the Korean.

Currently sitting ninth on the CLPGA Tour order of merit, Chayanun was also the winner at Zhuhai last year and finished 2018 at no.7. This year, though, she was winless but had a pair of top-10 finishes under her belt.

Renuka Suksukont, this year’s Zhuhai champion, and Parinda Phokan, who has won multiple TLPGA Tour titles in this season alone (Hitachi Ladies Classic and SAMP Ladies Open), will be aiming to continue the dominance by Thai players at the CTBC event.

The reigning EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open winner, China’s Liu Yan (劉艷), who’s ranked no.4 on the CLPGA Tour, Pan Yanhong (潘艷紅), and Zhang Yunjie (張芸杰), no.7 and no.8 respectively, will bear the hopes of the Chinese to take their first CTBC Ladies Open crown.

Sister act from China, Shi Yuting (石昱婷) and Yuli (石昱莉) will be in action. Shih Yuting, the elder of the two, is in red hot form having registered her first Japan LPGA Step-Up Tour triumph two month ago and reached a career high of no.5 on the circuit. She’s held three CLPGA Tour victories, including consecutive wins at the Le Coq Sportif Beijing Ladies Classic between 2017-2018. The sisters were both in the top 20 on the CLPGA Tour order of merit.

“This is my first time playing on the Linkou course,” Shih Yuting said. “The layout looks very challenging with the long distance, thick trees, and tough, tilted greens. But I’m ready, I’m feeling super fresh and confident at the moment after winning in Japan. I’ll be doing my best to play well and enjoy the golf.” Shih is now a CTBC spokesplayer, and so is Hsieh Yu-Ling (謝瑀玲) of Taiwan, who are the two CTBC faces competing this week.

A second sister act will see the Hou sisters, Yu-Chiang (侯羽薔) and Yu-Sang (侯羽桑) from Taiwan, paly in an official Tour event alongside the Shih sisters for the first time. Yu-Chiang, being the younger sis but having so far a more decorated resume, is a three-time winner on the pro tour already, lifting the trophies as an amateur at the 2018 TLPGA Ladies Open – Nan Pao, 2019 Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Challenge, and most recently at the ICTSI Pradera Verde Classic on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.

“I look forward to coming back on the Taiwan Tour to play in front of the home crowd,’ Yu-Chiang said. “If I can keep a controlled aggression out there and do not panic in tense moments, which I tend to in the big events, I definitely see myself playing in the leaders’ group on the final day. I love the atmosphere and that keeps me motivated.” Hou won the low-amateur honor in the last edition.

Thirteen of the top-20 on the 2019 TLPGA Tour money list are on the entry list, led by no.3 Chen Hsuan (陳萱). Recent Kaohsiung Ladies Open for Charity winner, no.4 Babe Liu (劉嬿), no.5 Lee Hsin (李欣), no.8 Huang Ching (黃靖), and no.10 Lee Chia-Pei (李佳霈) were also among the title hopefuls. Another notable contender is Tsai Pei-Ying (蔡佩穎), who was fresh off a win at the Step-Up Tour ECC Ladies Championship in July.

Hou Yu-Sang and Chen Ching-Tzu (陳靜慈) took the two title-sponsor exempts into the 2019 event.

The CTBC Ladies Open will be making its maiden voyage to the 54-year-old Linkou golf course. The competition layout is set at 6,710 yards long.

A cut will be made after 36 holes to just the top 50 and ties.

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