China's First World Ladies Championship to be Held in March at Mission Hills Hainan

Mission Hills China will host a new women's professional golf tournament - the World Ladies Championships (WLC) - on Hainan's Vintage Course, March 2-4. The event will be hosted by the China Golf Association (CGA) and Department of Culture of Radio, Television, Publication and Sports of Hainan Province.

The World Ladies Championship, co-sanctioned by Ladies European Tour and China LPGA Tour, will adopt a unique three-in-one format, featuring 54-hole individual play, professional team play and individual amateur play. In accordance with the Women's World Golf Rankings, two players from each of 18 countries or regions will be invited to participate in the team portion. Results will be calculated by aggregating the total points scored by each golfer. The host nation China will field two teams.

Invitations for the individual category of the 108-player field are dictated by the Women's World Golf rankings and 2011 European Tour Order of Merit. Participants will include top-ranked players from the Ladies European Tour (LET), China LPGA Tour, Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Korean Professional Ladies Golf Association (KLPGA), Ladies Professional Golfers' Association of Japan (JLPGA) and Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG). Amateur players will be drawn from winners of select R&A-sanctioned golf competitions in major countries. The WLC will award points to LET and China LPGA Tour members.

Tenniel Chu, Vice Chairman of Mission Hills Golf Club said, "The stage has long been set for a brand-new world women's golf championship in the professional game and we are very glad to see it finally happen. We are very thankful to the CGA, LET, China LPGA Tour and all the other parties for their collaborative input and contributions to this new event. The World Ladies Championship is the only three-in-one game in world golf today.

"Mission Hills has always been devoted to popularizing and promoting the sport through competitions. Golf is once again approved as an Olympic event and we proactively cooperate with different industry bodies to support the development of professional women's golf and achieve breakthroughs in the women's game," added Chu.

Commenting on the new competition, Mr. Zhang Xiaoning, Vice Chairman & Secretary General of China Golf Association, noted, "For a long period of time, Mission Hills has made significant contributions to organizing world-class tournaments and creating international, competitive platforms for Chinese golfers. We are delighted to see the first World Ladies Championship and Mission Hills host another international event for our players. This time the stage will be larger, involving more local challengers. I believe it will definitely bring in a new era for the women's golf industry in our motherland."

As Zhang pointed out, "the developmental strategy of the CGA is to set our sights on the Olympics, to further develop the professional game in China and to attain breakthrough in women's golf development."

"Being the first China LPGA Tour stop in 2012, the World Ladies Championship is sure to take a leading role on the tour," said Ms. Li Hon, General Manager of China LPGA Tour. "Strict entry requirements are imposed so as to ensure high quality of play. Since the sport itself is highly marketed, professional tournaments can foster the growth of developing players. The World Ladies Championship boosts the confidence of players in our nation and encourages more female golfers to strengthen their determination in pursuing their career."

Fan Xiao Jun, Director-General, Department of Culture Radio, Television, Publication and Sports of Hainan Province said, "Through various international sports events staged in Hainan, the Culture and Sports industry plays an important role for the Hainan International Tourism Island development strategy. The World Ladies Championship is another important tournament staged in Haikou and it will definitely enhance the awareness of Hainan province in the world."

"The World Ladies Championship 2012 is an integral part of LET as well as an unprecedented women's professional golf competition in China. As Mission Hills has already arranged numerous international tournaments with success, I believe the upcoming Championship will certainly draw more attention to women's golf and thus further popularize the sport on a global level," added Alexandra Armas, Executive Director of Ladies European Tour.

Designed by Brian Curley, the Vintage Course pays homage to the classic American golf courses built at the turn of the 20th century. Holes were routed to leave the densely forested site as undisturbed as possible. Abrupt mounding; deep pot bunkers; severe ridges; blind shots; varied, sometimes geometric, bunkering; an array of green sizes and wicker-basket pins are highlights.

The Golf & Tourism Forum, the annual major event in the industry, will take place concurrently with the Championship in March 2012. Already in its third year, the forum is attended by politicians, businessmen and the golf industry leaders.