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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - 13 Major champions to compete in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International next month
The Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by the Public Investment Fund has confirmed there would be a total of 13 Major champions competing in this year’s event, with a prize purse of $5 million up for grabs.
Major winners include three-time champion and last year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner In Gee Chun, multiple Major champion Anna Nordqvist, world No. 7 Lexi Thompson and defending champion Georgia Hall.
These 13 Major champions, who hold 18 Major titles between them, are part of a star-studded field that is set to be the event’s strongest lineup, with more top stars set to be announced over the following weeks.
The Aramco Saudi Ladies International is the third stop in a record-breaking 2023 LET season, featuring 30 events across 21 countries with a total prize fund of $38 million.
The groundbreaking event made waves around the world last year following the announcement of its commitment to women’s golf through a prize purse boost to $5 million, which is the largest outside of the Majors and matches the men’s event, the PIF Saudi International.
World No. 8 Chun picked up the third Major title of her career when she took home the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship title last year, winning by a stroke over Lexi Thompson and Minjee Lee. It was an impressive performance, especially in the tournament's first round, as the South Korean put up an eight-under-64 score to equal the largest first-round Major lead in women’s golf history.
She also performed well at the 2022 AIG Women’s Open, narrowly losing out on the title to Ashleigh Buhai — who will also be competing at the tournament — in a four-hole sudden-death playoff.
The 28-year-old secured her previous Major title in 2016, winning the Evian Championship. She spectacularly captured the title, finishing with a score of 21-under-par, which is the lowest winning score recorded in a Major tournament in golf.
This will be the first time Chun will compete in Saudi Arabia, where she will hope to make a solid start to her 2023 season.
“I’m excited to finally visit Saudi Arabia. I’m also looking forward to an event that is expected to elevate women’s golf in all parts of the global community. It will definitely be a great early season challenge with a very strong field competing.”
Another Major winner and top 10 player competing at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF is America’s Thompson. The world No. 7 ended her three-year title drought by winning the LET’s Aramco Team Series individual title in New York. In addition to the win in her home country, the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship titleholder also notched seven top 10 finishes in 2022.
As a player who has openly voiced her thoughts on equality in the game of golf, Thompson said: “Equal pay in golf has been something that all of us in the women’s game have wanted for so long, so seeing that huge prize purse increase at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International to match the men’s tournament was extremely heartening. For us, it’s always been about feeling equal and we are all focused on growing the game to leave in a much better place for future generation of female golfers.”
Crowd favorite and defending Champion Hall is also making a return to the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, where she created many fond memories last year by winning the Aramco Saudi Ladies International.
The world No. 24 and 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open winner added: “It was great to win early in the season last year and I hope to defend my title this year. I’m a fan of the place and enjoy playing on this course as it suits my game well.
“Playing in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East gives me much confidence as I’ve done well in past competitions. The treatment we get during event week is absolutely top-notch and makes it much easier to put up great performances on the course for the fans.”
On the prize purse boost, the 26-year-old added: “It’s a massive boost for the women’s game, and it also goes beyond golf as it’s what women in sport deserve. We are all thoroughly grateful to Golf Saudi for what it’s doing for women’s golf.
“I’ve personally seen how the Aramco Team Series and Aramco Saudi Ladies International events have grown and developed every time I’m here, and I’m confident that it will continue on this path.”
Other Major champions who are competing at the event are:
Ashleigh Buhai (2022 AIG Women’s Open)
Patty Tavatanakit (2021 ANA Inspiration)
Kim A-Lim (2020 US Women’s Open)
Hannah Green (2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship)
Jeong Eun Lee6 (2019 US Women’s Open)
Danielle Kang (2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship)
Lydia Ko (2016 ANA Inspiration; 2015 Evian Championship)
Hyo-Joo Kim (2014 Evian Championship)
Ji Eun-Hee (2009 US Women’s Open)
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