World’s best set for Torrey Pines

The World Nos 1 and 2, Lorena Ochoa and Paula Creamer, head up the elite field for this week’s Samsung World Championship.

The World numbers one and two, Lorena Ochoa and Paula Creamer, head up the elite 20-strong field for this week’s Samsung World Championship.

The field, which includes 17 of the World 20 best female golfers according to the Rolex World Rankings list, also includes all four major winners, including Catriona Matthew, winner of the Rico Women’s British Open, Sophie Gustafson, the European Tour’s leading money winner this year, and South Korea’s shock-trooper rookie Jiyah Shin.

In her first year on the tour, the bespectacled youngster has taken the Tour by storm, soaring to the top of the money winners listing last week with her third victory this year at the P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship.

Creamer, the defending champion this week at San Diego’s famed Torrey Pines public golf course, hasn’t won any events this year, partly because of a stomache ailment which bugged her during ther middle part of the season, but she has had eight top-10 finishes – including six top-3 finishes – in the 20 events she has played in since her victory in this selfsame event at the Ocean Course at Half Moon Bay Golf Links last September.

This season’s four major champions – Brittany Lincicome (Kraft Nabisco Championship), Anna Nordqvist (McDonald’s LPGA Championship), Eun-Hee Ji (US Women’s Open) and Matthew were all first-time major champions, but Lincicome and Matthew have previously played at the Samsung World Championship.

This tournament could play an important role in the race to see who will top the LPGA Official Money List and earn the Rolex Player of the Year honors.

Jiyai Shin is currently leading the way in both the Rolex Player of the Year contest, where she is just ahead of American Cristie Kerr, and in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race, and is in a good position to become the first woman to earn both crowns in the same season since the legandary Nancy Lopez did it in 1978.

But with half a dozen tournaments still to be played before the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship in Houston in November, Shin is going to have to hold onto her form.

Torrey Pines Golf Course, regarded as one of the world’s top golf courses and home to the 2008 US Open Championship won by Tiger Woods, will again play host to the world’s best players in 2009.

The event will mark only the second time that an LPGA tournament has visited Torrey Pines. The first was in 1983.

This week’s Samsung World Championship Field is:
Na Yeon Choi
Paula Creamer
Sophie Gustafson
Juli Inkster
Eun-Hee Ji
Cristie Kerr
In-Kyung Kim
Song-Hee Kim
Brittany Lincicome
Catriona Matthew
Kristy McPherson
Ai Miyazato
Anna Nordqvist
Suzann Pettersen
Jiyai Shin
Angela Stanford
Yani Tseng
Lorena Ochoa
Karrie Webb
Lindsey Wright