Inbee Park and Natalie Gulbis amongst top talent; nine Canadians to compete
WATERLOO, ON, July 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - The Manulife Financial LPGA Classic is gearing up for its second year with an impressive selection of the world's best female golfers returning to Waterloo. The field features nine of the top 10, and 25 of the top 30 on the LPGA Official Money List. The long list of elite players join defending champion Brittany Lang, who is looking for a repeat performance.
The 144-player field for the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic includes the world's top female golfer, Inbee Park, who was a strong contender at last year's tournament, losing in a four-way playoff to Lang. Park is hot off of a victory at last weekend's US Women's Open where she became only the second player in LPGA history to win the first three major championships of the season. In three weeks, Park will try to secure her fourth Grand Slam tournament at the Women's British Open at St. Andrews.One of the LPGA's more recognizable players, Natalie Gulbis, who is currently playing in her 12th season on the tour, will make her debut appearance at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Waterloo. Competing alongside Park, Gulbis and Lang is 2012 Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis, who currently ranks third on the Official Rolex Money List, and 2013 Tour winners Suzann Pettersen (ranked 4th), Beatriz Recari (ranked 6th) and Karrie Webb (ranked 7th). Fan favorites like Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer and Lexi Thompson have also committed to compete. "Having this caliber of players on the field has helped raise the tournament's profile as one of the top events on Tour," said Richard Kuypers, tournament director for the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. "We are grateful for the community's support and hospitality last year, and we can't wait to see what the tournament has in store for Kitchener-Waterloo this year." Nine Canadian players will compete at Grey Silo Golf Club. Tour veterans Lorie Kane and Alena Sharp lead a group of fresh Canadian faces who are eager for a local win. Favourite Lorie Kane, from Charlottetown, PEI, is the highest-ranking Canadian on the tour career money list and has four career wins. Hamilton, Ontario's Alena Sharp is hoping her busy schedule this year pays off with a strong showing at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. Sara-Maude Juneau, Maude-Aimee Leblanc, Sue Kim, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, Stephanie Sherlock, and amateurs Jennifer Kirby and Brooke Henderson round out the list of Canadian competitors. Click here for the final field. Two more players will be added after the qualifier on Monday, July 8 at Whistle Bear Golf Club. About the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic The Manulife Financial LPGA Classic is back for its second year on the LPGA Tour and will feature a standard eligibility field of 144 players, 72 holes of stroke play and a purse of $1.3 million. The tournament will take place July 10 - 14, 2013, at Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario, home of Manulife Financial's Canadian Division. For more information please visit: www.manulifeclassic.ca. Follow us on Twitter: @ManulifeClassic. About Manulife Financial Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Clients look to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients. We also provide asset management services to institutional customers. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were C$555 billion ( US$547 billion) as at March 31, 2013. The Company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.