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LOTTE qualifier is Sunday

Lotte qualifier is Sunday

Source: Star Advertiser

While the Masters winds down on a golf course far, far away on Sunday, the LPGA Lotte Championship qualifier will take place at Ko Olina with lots of local flavor.

Michelle Wie is already back home and tweeting about the kindness of tradewinds. The Punahou graduate, who has bolted up to 24th in the world rankings with her scorching start this year, is already in the 144-player field that tees off in Wednesday's opening round. Wie leads the tour in scoring average (69.75) and greens in regulation (81 percent).

Hawaii State Open champion Mari Chun and 2006 U.S. Amateur champion Kimberly Kim are hoping to join Wie after Sunday's qualifier. So are Nicole Sakamoto, who has won seven Hawaii women's majors; recent Army Women's Invitational winner Brittany Fan, and state high school champions Shayna Miyajima, Anna Jang and Mariel Galdiano.

The qualifier starts at 8 a.m., with the top two advancing.

Jang, who graduated from Princeton last year, and Sakamoto, a James Madison graduate, are rookies on the LPGA's Symetra Tour. Galdiano, the reigning state high school champion, and Fan, who signed a letter of intent with Colorado in the fall, received exemptions into the qualifier.

Wie was 12 when she qualified for her first LPGA tournament, the 2002 LPGA Takefuji Classic at windy Waikoloa Beach.

Annika Sorenstam won that week and again at Turtle Bay in 2008. Paula Creamer has won here twice in 2007 at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay and the following year at the Fields Open in Hawaii, also at Ko Olina.

In 2009 at Turtle Bay, Wie finished second to Angela Stanford. It is as close as she has come to winning a professional event at home. She will be coming off her first runner-up finish in a major, taking second to 19-year-old Lexi Thompson last Sunday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. It was Wie's third top 10 in six starts this year.

Attend the 2014 LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf »

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