Feng and Hull headline in Shanghai

China’s World No 5 Shanshan Feng and reigning European No 1 Charley Hull are the star attractions at this week’s Buick Championship in Shanghai.

The Ladies European Tour (LET) event starts on Thursday at Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club.

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 LET 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.

With the Shanghai GM Buick brand as title sponsor, the tournament keeps its unique structure.

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,” she said.

“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 very excited and looking forward to it.”

Fellow OMEGA ambassador 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.”