China’s world No.5 Shanshan Feng and the reigning European No.1 Charley Hull will be among the star attractions in the Buick Championship at Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club starting tomorrow.
Formerly played as the Buick Invitational on the China LPGA tour in 2014, the tournament has made a big step up in becoming co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour for the first time in 2015, with an international field of competitors from 22 countries and regions, increased prize money of USD $600,000 and live television coverage at the weekend.
The field of 108 competitors, comprising 47 players from the LET, 47 players from the CLPGA and 14 invitees, will play in a 72-hole individual stroke play competition with a cut to the leading 50 professionals and those tied after the second round. However, for the weekend, every player making the cut will be assigned an amateur partner for the unique Pro-Am team event running concurrently, with an additional purse of USD $50,000.
As Buick’s golf ambassador, Feng is looking forward to her first appearance of 2015 in China. "To participate on the Ladies European Tour in mainland China is a rare opportunity, so I would like to extend my thanks Buick and Qizhong Golf Club for their support of the event. In last year's Buick Invitational, I was involved in youth education, so I’m very happy to be able to come to the Buick Championship this year to participate. This is my first game of the season domestically, but also my first international professional tournament played in Shanghai, so I’m excited and looking forward to it.”
Hull added: “I enjoy China and I think this golf course looks really nice. I played with Shanshan three years ago in the British Open when I was an amateur. I’ve been playing really well but there are some good players here this week so I think it will be a good test.”
By deepening its involvement with women’s golf, Buick hopes to create more opportunities for Chinese female golfers to compete in high profile international events in order to help them achieve glory at the Olympics. Other home grown talents in the field include Lin Xiyu and LET rookie Chen Ssu-Chia, the 2014 Sanya Ladies Open and Xiamen Open champions respectively. The format has been designed to allow amateur golfers to experience the excitement of a stadium atmosphere and promote golf as a fun game for the public.
The Buick Championship will be broadcast live or as live by 11 international broadcasters including Sky Sports in the UK, NBC Golf Channel in the USA and CCTV in China. The live feed will be broadcast from 05.00hrs GMT – 08.00hrs GMT on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th May.
Photograph: Charley Hull, Melissa Reid, Shanshan Feng, Xiyu Lin and Yuting Shi.