The first regular-season women's match-play event on U.S. soil since 1954 will take place this week at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, New Jersey. 64 of the top women's golfers will tee it up in an attempt to grab the first-place check of $500,000, the second largest payday on tour. Only the U.S. Women's Open has a larger first prize.
The top four players will compete in six head-to-head matches over a span of four days. The inaugural event pits Annika Sorenstam, the top seed, against number-two seed Cristie Kerr, number-three seed Lorena Ochoa, and the surprise in the top-four seeds, rookie Paula Creamer. Of course, Sorenstam and others will have to battle through the likes of Joanne Morley (Sorenstam's first-round opponent) before they get to face each other.
The top 60 golfers were selected directly from the ADT Official Money List after the Wegmans Rochester LPGA was completed. It was a win at the Wegmans that propelled Ochoa into the third seed at this tournament.
The LPGA stars will compete in 32 matches on Thursday, 16 on Friday, eight on Saturday, and then complete two rounds - four matches and then two matches including the consolation match - in the morning and afternoon on Sunday.
Paula Creamer received her entry into the top-four with a win at the Sybase Classic and with a second-place finish to Ochoa at the Wegmans. Cristie Kerr's victory at the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill in early May secured both second-place on the money list and now a second-place seed at the HSBC Match Play Championship.
It's understandable how Sorenstam received her invitation as the number-one seed in the field. With over $17 million in the bank Annika has won two out of three LPGA majors this season and 62 LPGA career victories overall. Natalie Gulbis rounds out the top-five on the official money list due to her terrific season of six top-ten finishes. She also leads the field in number of birdies.
The next five seeds in order are Rosie Jones, Candie Kung, Catriona Matthew, and Gloria Park. Sixtieth position goes to Meg Mallon. With her win at the 2005 U.S. Women's Open Birdie Kim has secured the 64th spot in the match-play championship.
Ai Miyazaki is the current money leader on the Japan LPGA Tour. South Korean Se Ri Pak received the final sponsor's exemption into the $2 million championship.
Match 1 Rosie Jones (7) 8:00 AM Wendy Doolan (58)
Match 2 Jimin Kang (26) 8:08 AM Pat Hurst (39)
Match 3 Natalie Gulbis (5) 8:16 AM Marisa Baena (60)
Match 4 Michele Redman (28) 8:24 AM Grace Park (37)
Match 5 Candie Kung (8) 8:32 AM Candy Hannemann (57)
Match 6 Stacy Prammanasudh (25) 8:40 AM Leta Lindley (40)
Match 7 Birdie Kim (6) 8:48 AM Sophie Gustafson (59)
Match 8 Karine Icher (27) 8:56 AM Shi Hyun Ahn (38)
Match 9 Gloria Park (10) 9:04 AM Janice Moodie (55)
Match 10 Jill McGill (23) 9:12 AM Nicole Perrot (42)
Match 11 Lorie Kane (12) 9:20 AM Beth Daniel (53)
Match 12 Jennifer Rosales (21) 9:28 AM Angela Stanford (44)
Match 13 Catriona Matthew (9) 9:36 AM A.J. Eathorne (56)
Match 14 Heather Bowie (24) 9:44 AM Dorothy Delasin (41)
Match 15 Juli Inkster (11) 9:52 AM Sung Ah Yim (54)
Match 16 Laura Diaz (22) 10:00 AM Ai Miyazato (43)
Match 17 Laura Davies (15) 10:16 AM Kim Saiki (50)
Match 18 Hee-Won Han (18) 10:24 AM Meena Lee (47)
Match 19 Jeong Jang (13) 10:32 AM Reilley Rankin (52)
Match 20 *Shinobu Moromizato (20) 10:40 AM Emilee Klein (45)
Match 21 Mi Hyun Kim (16) 10:48 AM Meg Mallon (49)
Match 22 Se Ri Pak (17) 10:56 AM Rachel Hetherington (48)
Match 23 Wendy Ward (14) 11:04 AM Joo Mi Kim (51)
Match 24 Carin Koch (19) 11:12 AM Silvia Cavalleri (46)
Match 25 Cristie Kerr (2) 11:20 AM Lindsey Wright (63)
Match 26 Liselotte Neumann (31) 11:28 AM Moira Dunn (34)
Match 27 Paula Creamer (4) 11:36 AM Maria Hjorth (61)
Match 28 Karrie Webb (29) 11:44 AM Soo-Yun Kang (36)
Match 29 Annika Sorenstam (1) 11:52 AM Joanne Morley (64)
Match 30 Tina Barrett (32) 12:00 PM Young Kim (33)
Match 31 Lorena Ochoa (3) 12:08 PM Laurie Rinker (62)
Match 32 Christina Kim (30) 12:16 PM Karen Stupples (35)
The HSBC Match Play Championship will be televised on The Golf Channel June 30th and July 1st from 9:30 to 11:30 pm ET. CBS will pick up network coverage July 2nd from 3:00 to 5:00 pm and July 3rd from 2:00 to 4:00 pm ET.