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Posted June 7, 2012

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LPGA IN WATERLOO

Ai Miyazato, Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Azahara Munoz, Lexi Thompson, and Karrie Webb are headed to Waterloo

Waterloo – Ai Miyazato, Suzanna Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Azahara Munoz, Lexi Thompson, and Karrie Webb, all players who are ranked in the top 25 in the world, have joined the field for the inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic at Grey Silo Golf Course, June 20-24.

At just 26 years of age, Ai Miyazato has amassed an impressive 24 professional victories on the LET, JLPGA (LPGA of Japan Tour) and the LPGA Tour. Currently the fourth-ranked player in the world, Miyazato was the top-ranked golfer in the Rolex World Rankings for three periods of time in 2010. Miyazato has accumulated eight victories on the LPGA Tour, with the most recent coming less than two months ago at the inaugural LPGA Lotte Championship in Kapolei, Hawaii.

Suzann Pettersen, the fifth-ranked player in the Rolex World Rankings, has won 14 tournaments as a professional, with eight of them coming on the LPGA Tour. In 2007, she had a major victory at the McDonald’s LPGA Championship. The Oslo, Norway native is currently in her 12th season on the LPGA Tour and is currently the highest ranked European player in the world. Pettersen has also enjoyed success on the Ladies European Tour (LET), being named Rookie of the Year in 2001 and has totaled 5 career victories.

Cristie Kerr has 14 LPGA Tour victories, including 2 major championships (2007 U.S.Women’s Open and the 2010 LPGA Championship) and has over $13 million in career earnings. Kerr currently sits at number seven in the world rankings, and similar to Miyazato, was the number-one ranked golfer in the world for three time periods in 2010. The six-time Solheim Cup team member for the United States is #4 on the all time money list. Kerr was awarded the Muhammad Ali Award for Sport Achievement last year for her fight against breast cancer through her Birdies for Breast Cancer charity.

Afterjoining the LPGA Tour just two years ago, Spanish star Azahara Munoz has quickly made an impact, rising to number 18 in the Rolex World Rankings. Munoz, handily won the competition for LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2010 with 704 points; the runner-up compiled a total of 419 points. Munoz has built confidence and momentum heading into the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic as she notched her first LPGA Tour victory just two weeks ago at the Sybase Match Play Championship in Gladstone, New Jersey.

Lexi Thompson turned professional in 2010 at the age of 15. The now seventeen-year-old Thompson has steadily climbed up the world rankings all the way to number 21. In September of last year, the teenage phenom set a new record as the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA tournament, at age 16 years, seven months, and eight days, when she won the Navistar LPGA Classic in Prattville, AL.

Karrie Webb, currently ranked 22nd in the world, is Australia’s most successful female professional golfer. Her 53 career professional wins have proven her to be one of the top players in the history of women’s professional golf. Of her 53 tournament victories, 38 of them have come while playing on the LPGATour, including seven major championship titles. In addition to her staggering number of titles, Webb has been named the LPGA Tour Player of the Year twice (1999, 2000), the LPGA Tour Player Money Winner three times (1996, 1999, 2000), and has been awarded the LPGA Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average for the season three times (1997, 1999, 2000). Webb’s 38 career victories on the LPGA Tour places her in 11th place on the list of players with the most career LPGA tournament wins and first among all active players. Webb was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2005.

“We are more than happy to announce the commitment of these six extraordinary athletes,” says Manulife Financial LPGA Classic Tournament Director Richard Kuypers. “Being the inaugural year of our event, we are ecstatic to be able to attract a field of this caliber and bring them to Waterloo Region. You can really sense the excitement around the community as we are now just two weeks away from teeing it up.”

“Support from the LPGA’s top players has been outstanding and we are impressed by the addition of these six star competitors,” added Brian Gooding, Senior Vice President of Distribution at Manulife Financial. “Momentum and excitement in the community continues to build as we eagerly await the world’s best female golfers.”

Tickets to the 2012 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic are priced as low as $30 and can be used any day of the tournament. Children age 15 and under will be admitted free of charge when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Fans can order tickets online at www.manulifeclassic.ca or call the tournament office at (519) 884-5742. Group ticket packages are also available.



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