LPGA Kia Classic
LPGA STARS HEAD BACK TO CARLSBAD AND THE 2018 KIA CLASSIC
For the ninth consecutive year, the LPGA will descend on Southern California in March for the Kia Classic. The week of March 19-25, 2018, the world’s best female golfers will take to Carlsbad’s Aviara Golf Club and compete for $1.8 million in prize money.
LPGA star Mirim Lee will look to defend her 2017 title, when she carded a 7-under 65 in Sunday’s final round en route to a runaway six-stroke win over So Yeon Ryu and Austin Ernst. Lee slept on the 54-hole lead at Aviara for the second time in three years, and after ultimately falling to Cristie Kerr in 2015, she was relieved to finally raise the tournament’s distinctive red glass trophy.
“It's been a long time to be winner of the tournament, so I was kind of nervous before I started,” said Lee, who set the tournament’s 72-hole record at 20-under 268. “But I try to focus and that gives me good result.”
While the 2018 field will not be finalized until next year, the Kia Classic historically boasts one of the strongest fields of the LPGA season. The 2017 field included the top 100 players off the 2016 LPGA Money List, including past Kia champions Sandra Gal (2011) Kerr (2015), Lydia Ko (2016), Anna Nordqvist (2014), Beatriz Recari (2013) and Yani Tseng (2012).
With its beautiful San Diego-area weather and world-class golf course, the Kia Classic is always one of the season’s most popular stops for the LPGA stars.
“I love everything about this week,” said California native Mo Martin. “It's pretty much home territory. I was born and raised in L.A., but just a chance for all my family and friends to be out. Weather is perfect. I mean, the course in and of itself I love playing it. Love the setup. Keeps you on your toes all day. When you're not hitting shots you've got beautiful scenery, wildflowers. No complaints about the week. It's perfect.”
A variety of ticket options are available at http://www.kiaclassic.com/tickets. Juniors age 17 and under receive complimentary admission for the entire week, making the Kia Classic the ultimate family destination. Thursday, March 22, features a Women’s Leadership Day, while a junior clinic will be held on Saturday, March 24.
2017 Kia Classic Final Round Highlights
CARLSBAD, CA – Two years after finishing runner-up at the Kia Classic, this time Mirim Lee is going home a winner.
Lee took a one-stroke lead into the final round, sleeping on the 54-hole lead at the Kia Classic for the second time in her career. Sunday, Lee put her foot on the accelerator and didn’t look back - she made birdie on the first and then every other hole on her outward nine to extend her lead. The world No. 21 carded a final round seven-under par, 65 to win by six-strokes ahead of So Yeon Ryu and Austin Ernst. Lee’s winning total of 20-under par matched the Tournament record set by Cristie Kerr in 2015, when Lee finished runner-up.
“It's been a long time to be winner of the tournament, so I kind of nervous before I start of game. But I try to focus and then gives me good result,” Lee told the media through a translator. “When I practiced this course I think tee shot was most important thing, so I focused on good tee shot so that makes this good result.”
In a strange case of history repeating itself, Lee slept on the 54-hole lead this week just as she had done in 2015. That year, Kerr trailed Lee by three-strokes, just as she did again on Sunday. In 2015, Kerr went on to post a final round 65 to win by two-strokes ahead of Lee who managed a final round 70. This week, it was Lee who posted a 65 to win and Kerr who shot 70 to finish T-4 for the week.