Katherine Kirk will be in action in Hawaii this week.Photo: Getty
The LPGA Tour will be saying ‘Aloha’ to Hawaii this week for the third-annual LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf.
A group of 144 players will battle for a $1.7 million purse and for a chance to do the celebratory hula dance on the 18th green at Ko Olina Golf Club.
The Australians in the field are Sarah Kemp, Stacey Keating, Sarah-Jane Smith, Katherine Kirk, Julia Boland and Lindsey Wright.
Defending champion Suzann Pettersen will miss her third consecutive event with a back injury but this week’s field has plenty of star power to put on a show in Kapolei.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park headlines the group and is still searching for her first win of the 2014 season. Park, who has held the top spot in the world for 53-consecutive weeks, has played well in Hawaii with a tied for fourth finish last year and T12 in 2012.
Hawaii native Michelle Wie will be having a homecoming this week as the 24-year old from Honolulu returns to the island of Oahu. Wie is coming off a runner-up finish at the season’s first major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and has yet to finish worse than T16 this season. Rolex Rankings No. 4 Lydia Ko will make her second appearance at the LOTTE Championship and will try to improve on her T9 finish from a year ago.
American Lizette Salas returns to Hawaii with some extra motivation after her career-best runner up finish last season. She carved up Ko Olina in the final round last year and shot an incredible 29 on the back nine to force a playoff with Pettersen. Even after hitting her second shot on the first playoff hole into the greenside water, Salas has said that she’s taken the positives from her course record 62 on Saturday.
“I could have been really down,” said Salas. “I did cry about it, but I could have had a pity party for a long time. But I reversed it. It was definitely a motivating thing and I think was a reason I had such a great year.”