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Major champions join McKayson NZ Women's Open

Brittany Lincicome is a two time major winner and a winner in 2017. (Photo: Getty Images)
Six golfing superstars, with 11 Major Championship titles between them, have confirmed their starts in the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open in Auckland.

Taiwan’s Yani Tseng, Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, America’s Brittany Lincicome and Korea’s Na Yeon Choi, Eun-Hee Ji and Hyo Joo Kim will compete in the first LPGA event in New Zealand, to be staged at Windross Farm Golf Course in Ardmore, south of Auckland from 28 September to 1 October.

The 'Super Six' have won 70 professional tournaments between them and earned more than NZ$63 million in prizemoney to date in their illustrious careers. Collectively they have amassed 352 top-10 finishes between them on the LPGA Tour alone, an average of nearly 60 tournaments each.

“To have golfers who have won so many major championships between them is a testament to the quality of the field coming to New Zealand,” said tournament director Michael Goldstein. “Of course Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson, who have already confirmed their entry, add to this list of Major Championship  winners who will play and we are hoping for one or two more.

“They are proven champions in the women’s game, and it will be a privilege for New Zealand fans to watch these players of this calibre in action. It is a level of golf that has never been seen in this country before.”

Tseng was the youngest player either male or female, at 22 years, to win five majors and held the number one world ranking for 109 weeks, second only to Lorena Ochoa, and five weeks more than New Zealand’s Lydia Ko held it during her reign at the top of women’s golf.

Matthew, who splits her time between the US and Europe, has 11 tournament wins to her credit including the British Open in 2010 and four wins on the LPGA.

She has amassed more than NZ$13 million in her career off the back of over 100 top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour alone.

Matthew has played in seven Solheim Cup competitions, played biennially between the USA and Europe, and will be the vice-captain of the European team for this month’s contest in the US.

She is excited about playing in the burgeoning global LPGA Tour event.

“It is one of the few places in the world that I’ve not been and always wanted to go to New Zealand so I am really looking forward to going down. People say it is similar to Scotland so that is something I am keenly interested in,” Matthew said.

“I feel I am playing pretty well this year but not quite had the results I want yet – I am not making enough putts and making enough birdies.”

Kim, 22, is one of the most exciting young players on the tour, winning the Evian Championship in France as a teenager three years ago on the back of an LPGA Tour record 61 in her opening round. She has won three times on the LPGA Tour and 15 times as a professional around the world.

Lincicome, 31, is a two-time major winner and likely to be one of the most popular players at the tournament, on the back of her big-hitting game, which has earned her the nickname of 'BamBam'.

She won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2009 before it morphed into the ANA Inspiration which she won in 2015. Along the way, the American has won seven times on the LPGA Tour including the opening event this year in the Bahamas, and will line up in her sixth Solheim Cup this month.

Choi is another player with a remarkable record in the game, with her nine LPGA Tour wins including the US Women’s Open in 2012 and winning the Vare Trophy twice as leading money winner on the Tour.

The 29-year-old has won over NZ$ 15 million in prizemoney, winning her first professional tournament in Korea at the age of 17 following a stellar amateur career.

Compatriot Eun-Hee Ji, 31, has enjoyed six wins as a professional including two on the LPGA highlighted by the US Women’s Open in 2009. She is a remarkably consistent player, making 23 of 25 cuts last year and this year has had four top-15 finishes.

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