For the sixth consecutive season and ninth time in 12 years, the LPGA will take over the west side of Oahu this week with the LOTTE Championship at Ko Olina Golf Club.
The eighth of 34 events this LPGA season will feature two homegrown golfers in the field: 2014 event champion Honolulu’s Michelle Wie and 2017 tour rookie Britney Yada of Hilo.
Yada, 26, is a Waiakea graduate who played collegiately at Portland State University until 2013.
She made her LPGA debut last May, missing the cut at the Kingsmill Championship. However, a 57th-place finish on the Symetra Tour earned her partial status on the LPGA in 2017.
In storybook fashion, Yada will make her debut as a tour rookie Wednesday at Ko Olina.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to play at home, have all my family here watching and friends, and eat good food,” said Yada.
“It’s just nice to be home. I was really hoping to get into this one as my first one, and I was the last one in, I think. I think I was the last one in, so maybe it was meant to be, I don’t know? So I’ve been very excited and just grateful for the opportunity,” she added.
Since turning professional, Yada has won seven times on the Cactus Tour, an Arizona-based mini-tour, including three times in 2016.
The LPGA will reshuffle the partial qualifiers after the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout concludes on April 30.
If she makes the cut this weekend, Yada will be granted more opportunities in future events this season, but says she doesn’t feel any overwhelming pressure heading into the tournament.
“After I moved away from Hawaii and I came back, I have learned to just enjoy being here,” she said. “Since I’m not here anymore, I’m able to take in the scenery and just feel comfortable here, and I think if I just enjoy myself and let the golf take care of itself, if I practice hard enough this week, it will all be okay.”
Hye Jin Choi * (a)
In Gee Chun
Hee Young Park
Laura Gonzalez Escallon
Sung Hyun Park
Seong Weon Park *
Jaye Marie Green
Regan De Guzman
Brooke M. Henderson
So Yeon Ryu
Mi Jung Hur
Hanule Seo #
Su-Yeon Jang * Eun Jeong Seong # (a)
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
Sarah Jane Smith
Hyo Joo Kim
Hae Rym Kim *
Min Seo Kwak
Nicole Broch Larsen
Suzuka Yamaguchi * (a)
Jeong Eun Lee
Mi Hyang Lee
* Sponsor invite
Ji Young Oh