New York (AFP) – Reigning champion Lee6 Jeong-eun of South Korea was among 11 past winners named Wednesday to the 75th US Women’s Open in exempt categories by the US Golf Association.
Qualifying for the major women’s championship was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the event at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas, to be postponed from June 4-7 to December 10-13.
“We are extremely pleased to still provide the world’s best professional and amateur players the opportunity to compete for this historic championship, despite forgoing qualifying,” USGA senior managing director of championships John Bodenhamer said.
Other past US Women’s Open winners in the field will include South Koreans Park In-bee, Ji Eun-hee, Ryu So-yeon, Choi Na-yeon, Chun In-gee and Park Sung-hyun, Americans Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer and Brittany Lang and Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn.
The field of 156 will include the top 75 players in the women’s world rankings on March 16, when the list was last updated before the COVID-19 outbreak, and the top 30 finishers on the 2019 LPGA season points list.
Players not yet exempt can earn berths by finishing in the top 10 on the LPGA 2020 season money list or with performances in select remaining 2020 LPGA events, including the Northwest Arkansas Championship, Portland Classic, ShopRite Classic and Women’s PGA Championship.
The top 20 on the women’s world amateur rankings on November 4 will join the usual six amateur qualifying category players in the US Women’s Open lineup also.
The final 2019 Ladies European Tour Order of Merit and 2019 Japan LPGA Tour, Korean LPGA Tour and China LPGA Tour money lists will be used to help round out the field.
Other available spots will be filled from the world rankings on November 9, the day after the LPGA is scheduled to complete an Asian swing through China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
“After carefully examining previous years, these exemption categories allow us to closely mirror a traditional field,” Bodenhamer said. “We are excited to witness one of these players win what will truly be a milestone 75th US Women’s Open.”