Meet the Olympic Women's Golf Competition field
August 15, 2016
By Bill Fields, Special to PGATOUR.COM
- The Olympic Women's Golf Competition gets underway Wednesday in Rio. (Tristan Jones/IGF Golf)
The Olympic Women's Golf Competition starts with the first round on Wednesday. Before the women take to the course for their chance at gold, here's a quick meet-and-greet with all 60 competitors you'll see in Rio.
Name: Minjee Lee
Career Synopsis: The native of Perth, Australia, has won an LPGA tournament each of the last two seasons. She turned pro in 2014 after winning the Australia Women’s Amateur two years in a row.
Fun Fact: Her brother, Min Woo Lee, won the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur. Minjee won the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior, making them the first brother-sister to win the USGA’s junior championships.
Name: Su-Hyun Oh
Career Snynopsis: The South Korean-born Oh was the top-ranked women’s amateur in the world before turning professional in 2014. She has one victory on the Ladies European Tour, at the 2015 Volvik RACV Ladies Masters in her home country of Australia.
Fun Fact: Her caddie at the Olympics is Australian professional golfer and course architect Mike Clayton.
Name: Christine Wolf
Career Synopsis: A multiple national junior champion in Austria, she attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and played in the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open as an amateur. She won the 2012 Crete Open on the Ladies European Tour Access Series in her second start as a professional.
Fun Fact: When not competing in golf, she enjoys skiing, rock climbing and mountain biking.
Name: Chloe Leurquin
Career Synopsis: The third-year Ladies European Tour member is currently 34th on the LET Order of Merit, having improved in earnings each season.
Fun Fact: She was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1990 because her father was working there at the time. She then lived five years in Spain before moving to Belgium.
Name: Miriam Nagl
Career Synopsis: A native of Brazil who moved to Germany when she was 8, along with Victoria Lovelady she will be one of two women golfers representing the host nation at the Games. A two-time winner on the Symetra Tour, her best finish on the Ladies European Tour is runner-up at the 2005 Tenerife Spanish Ladies Open.
Fun Fact: She won the Olympic test challenge in March on the Olympic Golf Course.
Name: Victoria Lovelady
Career Synopsis: Lovelady has played the Ladies European Tour since 2014 and is currently 63rd on the 2016 LET Order of Merit. She was a member of the NCAA champion Southern Cal women’s golf team.
Fun Fact: She loves to sing and play guitar, and she composed a song to commemorate the Olympics in her home city.
Name: Brooke M. Henderson
Career Synopsis: The three-time LPGA winner became the youngest champion of the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship with a playoff victory over Lydia Ko. Henderson was the top-ranked women’s amateur before turning pro in 2014.
Fun Fact: Growing up in Smiths Falls, Ontario, she was a hockey goalie until giving up that sport to concentrate on golf at age 14.
Name: Alena Sharp
Career Synopsis: After graduating from New Mexico State University, Sharp worked her way up through mini-tours and the Symetra Tour to make the LPGA Tour in 2005. Sbe is 44th on the 2016 LPGA money list with one top-10 finish, the seventh of her career.
Fun Fact: She started an annual charity tournament to benefit the Alzheimer’s Society in 2006.
Name: Shanshan Feng
Career Synopsis: Feng has 16 professional victories around the globe, including four titles on the LPGA Tour. Winner of the 2012 LPGA Championship, Feng took up golf when she was 10 years old.
Fun Fact: She is the first golfer from China to be a member of the LPGA Tour.
Name: Xiyu Lin
Career Synopsis: In her third season on the LPGA Tour, Lin has been a professional since she was 15. She was inspired by countrywoman Shanshan Feng. Lin has five wins on the China LPGA Tour and represented her country in the 2016 UL International Crown.
Fun Fact: She likes to play billiards and go bowling in her spare time.
Name: Mariajo Uribe
Career Synopsis: After attending UCLA for 1½ years, Uribe turned professional in 2009. She has one unofficial pro victory, the 2011 HSBC Brazil Cup, and won the women’s golf title at the 2015 Pan American Games. Uribe is 74th on the 2016 LPGA money list, her best finish a tie for fourth at the Cambia Portland Classic.
Fun Fact: She is the only player from Latin American to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur, capturing the title in 2007 by defeating Amanda Blumenherst in the final.
Name: Klara Spilkova
Career Synopsis: The Prague resident is already in her sixth season on the Ladies European Tour, having been a rookie in 2011 as a 16-year-old. She has played six LET events in 2016 and is 76th on the Order of Merit.
Fun Fact: She was introduced to golf when she was 4 years old by her older brother Lukas.
Name: Nicole Broch Larsen
Career Synopsis: Larsen is ninth on the 2016 Ladies European Tour Order of Merit after ranking third in 2015. She won the 2015 Helsingborg Open.
Fun Fact: She was a competitive badminton player until turning her focus to golf when she was selected to the Danish national team at age 14.
Name: Nanna Koerstz Madsen
Career Synopsis: Madsen turned pro on Jan. 1, 2015, following one semester at the University of South Carolina. She had a strong rookie season on the Ladies European Tour in 2015, finishing ninth on the Order of Merit and is currently fifth in LET earnings for 2016.
Fun Fact: Men’s world No. 1 Jason Day is her favorite golfer.
Name: Ursula Wikstrom
Career Synopsis: Veteran Ladies European Tour player has recorded multiple runner-up finishes but is still searching for her first victory. Wikstrom is 53rd on the LET Order of Merit in 2016.
Fun Fact: Husband Mika works for the Finnish Golf Federation.
Name: Noora Tamminen
Career Synopsis: Tamminen has improved each year on the Ladies European Tour since her rookie season in 2013. She was 82nd on the Order of Merit as a first-year player, and was 45th and 33rd the next two seasons. Heading to Rio, she is 18th in earnings. She helped Finland to a bronze medal in the 2012 Women’s World Team Amateur.
Fun Fact: Started playing golf on April Fool’s Day in 2002.
Name: Karine Icher
Career Synopsis: A five-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, she has a 5-4-1 record in three Solheim Cup appearances for Europe. Icher was a two-time French junior champion and played for France when it won the 2000 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship.
Fun Fact: Her caddie is husband Fred Bonnargent, with whom she had a daughter in 2011.
Name: Gwladys Nocera
Career Synopsis: Nocera is tied for seventh in all-time victories on the Ladies European Tour with 14, highlighted by a five-win season in 2008. She is a four-time member of Europe’s Solheim Cup team, compiling a 6-4-2 mark.
Fun Fact: She has a degree in international business from New Mexico State University and didn’t turn pro until age 27.
Name: Sandra Gal
Career Synopsis: Gal, who played college golf at the University of Florida and has played on the LPGA Tour since 2008, has one LPGA victory, the 2011 Kia Classic. She is a two-time Solheim Cup player for Europe.
Fun Fact: Painting and playing the violin are two of Gal’s hobbies.
Name: Caroline Masson
Career Synopsis: The native of Gladbeck, Germany, has one victory on the Ladies European Tour (2013 South African Women’s Open) and the two-time European Solheim Cup member arrives in Rio ranked 50th on the LPGA money list in 2016.
Fun Fact: She played one year at Oklahoma State before turning pro.
Name: Charley Hull
Career Synopsis: Hull was sixth on Ladies European Tour Order of Merit in 2013 and earned Rookie of the Year honors. She tied for second in the 2016 ANA Inspiration.
Fun Fact: Only 17 for the 2013 matches, she is the youngest player to participate in the Solheim Cup.
Name: Catriona Matthew
Career Synopsis: Matthew is a six-time winner on the Ladies European Tour with four more wins on the LPGA. She won the 2009 Ricoh Women’s British Open and has runner-up finishes in two other major championships.
Fun Fact: She grew up and resides in North Berwick, Scotland, whose West Links is the world’s third-oldest course still played over original fairways.
Name: Tiffany Chan
Career Synopsis: A two-time national junior college champion at Daytona State, Chan is a student at the University of Southern California. She won the 2016 Hong Kong Ladies Open, an event on the Ladies Asian Golf Tour, and has represented Hong Kong three times at the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship.
Fun Fact: She started out in golf at a public driving range in Tuen Muen, Hong Kong, before chosen for Hong Kong’s junior development program.
Name: Aditi Ashok
Career Synopsis: Ashok turned pro earlier this year at age 17 after winning the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Aicha Tour School where she had a third-round 62. She is the only Indian golfer to have played in the Asian Youth Games, Youth Olympic Games and Asian Games.
Fun Fact: She is a three-time national junior and two-time amateur champion of India.
Name: Leona Maguire
Career Synopsis: Maguire is the world’s top-ranked women’s amateur, she plans to turn pro after the Olympics. The former Duke University golfer has represented Great Britain & Ireland three times (2010, 2012, 2016) in the Curtis Cup and was on two winning teams.
Fun Fact: She was a talented youth swimmer but gave up that sport when she was 9 to concentrate on golf.
Name: Stephanie Meadow
Career Synopsis: After a stellar career at the University of Alabama, where she won nine titles and was part of an NCAA championship team, Meadow made her pro debut with a third-place finish at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. She was on winning 2012 Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup team.
Fun Fact: She honed her game as a youth at Royal Portrush Golf Club, site of the 1951 Open Championship and one of the world’s best links courses.
Name: Laetitia Beck
Career Synopsis: The second-year LPGA player is the first player from Israel to qualify for the LPGA Tour. A college All-American at Duke University, Beck has two top-20 finishes in 2016.
Fun Fact: After moving from Belgium to Israel as a child, she grew up playing Caesarea Golf Club, Israel’s only 18-hole course.
Name: Giulia Molinaro
Career Synopsis: Molinaro was an All-American at Arizona State University before turning professional in 2012. Currently 105th on the 2016 LPGA money list, she was Symetra Tour Rookie of the Year in 2013.
Fun Fact: She enjoys kite surfing and photography.
Name: Giulia Sergas
Career Synopsis: A veteran Italian who now lives in the United States, Sergas has had runner-up finishes on the LPGA and Ladies European Tour and has finished in the top 10 in four of the five women’s majors. She was a captain’s pick for the 2013 European Solheim Cup team, the first to triumph on U.S. soil.
Fun Fact: She is fan of active outdoor sports, enjoying skydiving and snowboarding in her spare time.
Name: Harukyo Nomura
Career Synopsis: Nomura has won two LPGA events in 2016, the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. She was born in Japan but grew up in South Korea and now lives in Hawaii.
Fun Fact: She likes karaoke and going to amusement parks.
Name: Shiho Oyama
Career Synopsis: The leading money winner on the LPGA of Japan Tour in 2006, Oyama has 17 victories in her home country from 2003-2016. She enjoyed her best finish in a major championship last season, tying for fifth in the U.S. Women’s Open.
Fun Fact: She has been a tireless advocate for victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Name: Inbee Park
Career Synopsis: Park is a seven-time major champion, three of them in succession during 2013 when she became only the fourth LPGA player to win three majors in a season. She has 17 career LPGA victories and qualified for the the LPGA Hall of Fame in 2016.
Fun Fact: Park’s husband, Gi Hyeob Nam, is her coach.
Name: Sei Young Kim
Career Synopsis: Kim is a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour and the LPGA of Korea Tour. Runner-up in the 2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the native of Seoul, South Korea, is one of the longest hitters in women’s golf.
Fun Fact: Kim is a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo.
Name: Amy Yang
Career Synopsis: Yang has won tournaments on the LPGA Tour (2), Ladies European Tour (3) and LPGA of Korea Tour (2) and has been a consistent contender in major championships with 14 top-10 finishes in 37 appearances, highlighted by two runner-up finishes in the U.S. Women’s Open.
Fun Fact: She is a former student of golf instructor Tom Creavy, great-nephew of 1931 PGA champion Tom Creavy.
Name: In Gee Chun
Career Synopsis: Shooting a final-round 66, Chun came from behind to win the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open in her first time at the championship. It is her only LPGA victory, but she has won nine times in her native South Korea and twice in Japan.
Fun Fact: She has an enthusiastic fan club, “The Flying Dumbos.”
Name: Kelly Tan
Career Synopsis: Tan has played the LPGA Tour since 2014, her best finish being a tie for fourth at the 2014 Marathon Classic. She is 76th on the 2016 LPGA money list after having ranked 95th and 89th the previous two seasons.
Fun Fact: Playing the guitar is one of the things she likes to do away from golf.
Name: Michelle Koh
Career Synopsis: Koh competes on the China LPGA Tour, where she won the CTBC Shanghai Ladies Classic in 2015. She took up golf at an early age and advanced her game through the Sime Darby Malaysia development program.
Fun Fact: She attended Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., prior to turning professional.
Name: Gabby Lopez
Career Synopsis: Following in the footsteps of Mexican women’s golf legend Lorena Ochoa, Lopez, a Mexico City native, is in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour following an All-American college career at Arkansas.
Fun Fact: She has younger twin brothers, Jose Luis and Fernando.
Name: Alejandra Llaneza
Career Synopsis: Llaneza, a Mexico City native, has three top-20 finishes on the LPGA Tour highlighted by a 12th-place finish at the 2012 Kingsmill Championship. She has struggled on the 2016 LPGA Tour, currently ranked 141st in earnings.
Fun Fact: She was a five-time Mexican junior champion.
Name: Maha Haddioui
Career Synopsis: Haddioui is the first Arab golfer to qualify to play on the Ladies European Tour, where she is currently ranked 52nd on the Order of Merit. She went to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., where the graduated with honors and was named the school’s athlete of the year.
Fun Fact: She speaks four languages.
Name: Lydia Ko
Career Synopsis: Ko has 14 career wins on the LPGA Tour, having won her first at the record age of 15 years, 4 months. The South Korean-born New Zealander is a two-time major champion, including the 2016 ANA Inspiration.
Fun Fact: She is a big fan of the New Zealand national rugby union team and announced she was turning pro in a video with Israel Digg of the All Blacks.
Name: Suzann Pettersen
Career Synopsis: Formerly No. 2 in the Rolex Rankings, Pettersen has 15 LPGA victories highlighted by the 2007 LPGA Championship and 2013 Evian Championship. She is an eight-time member of the European Solheim Cup team.
Fun Fact: She is a descendant of Gunerius Pettersen, an important 19th century Norwegian merchant.
Name: Marianne Skarpnord
Career Synopsis: Skarpnord was a highly touted teen golfer and beat Beatriz Recari in the final of the 2003 British Girls Championship. She has three victories on the Ladies European Tour including the 2013 South African Women’s Open that was shortened to 18 holes because of adverse weather.
Fun Fact: Enjoys playing table tennis and squash.
Name: Julieta Granada
Career Synopsis: After moving to the United States with her mother at age 14, Granada was a star junior golfer, her amateur days highlighted by a victory in the 2014 U.S. Girls’ Junior. She has one LPGA victory but it was a big one, the 2006 LPGA Playoffs at the ADT for which she won $1 million.
Fun Fact: She carried the flag for Paraguay during the opening ceremonies in Rio.
Name: Maria Verchenova
Career Synopsis: The two-time Russian Amateur champion turned professional in 2006 and has competed on the Ladies European Tour for a decade with several top-10 finishes. Verchenova is 60th on this year’s LET Order of Merit.
Fun Fact: She is the first Russian to be a full-time member of the Ladies European Tour.
Name: Paula Reto
Career Synopsis: Reto has been a member of the LPGA Tour since 2014, earning his card at Q-School in 2013. The native of Cape Town, South Africa, attended Purdue University. She is 68th on the 2016 LPGA money list with two top-10 finishes.
Fun Fact: In addition to golf, she competed in field hockey and athletics as a youth.
Name: Ashleigh Simon
Career Synopsis: Turning professional the day after her 18th birthday, Simon won her third event as a pro, the 2007 Catalonia Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour. She has one more LET victory, the 2011 ISPS Handa Portugal Ladies Open.
Fun Fact: She was the first player in 101 years to win the South African Ladies Open title three times.
Name: Carlota Ciganda
Career Synopsis: A three-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, Ciganda was LET Player and Rookie of the Year in 2012. She was a member of the European Solheim Cup team in 2013 and 2015.
Fun Fact: She was born and resides in Pamplona, Spain, home of the famous “Running of the Bulls.”
Name: Azahara Munoz
Career Synopsis: Following a successful amateur career that included a win at the 2009 British Ladies Amateur, Munoz has four pro victories including the LPGA’s 2012 Sybase Match Play Championship. She has played on the last three European Solheim Cup teams.
Fun Fact: She has a psychology degree from Arizona State and won the 2008 NCAA individual championship for the Sun Devils.
Name: Anna Nordqvist
Career Synopsis: Nordqvist, a native of Sweden who lives in Florida, is a six-time LPGA winner including the 2009 LPGA Championship. She has represented Europe four times in the Solheim Cup.
Fun Fact: She was an avid swimmer before turning her full attention to golf.
Name: Pernilla Lindberg
Career Synopsis: Lindberg is searching for her first professional win but has nearly two dozen top-10 finishes combined on the LPGA and Ladies European tours. The 2009 Oklahoma State graduate tied for fifth in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open.
Fun Fact: As a teenager, she was an alpine ski racer.
Name: Albane Valenzuela
Career Synopsis: Along with Leona Maguire and Tiffany Chan, one of only three amateurs in the women’s Olympic golf competition. She made the cut in the ANA Inspiration and U.S. Women’s Open this year.
Fun Fact: She was born in New York City to a Mexican father, Alberto, and a French mother, Diane, and became a Swiss citizen when she was 14. She speaks four languages.
Name: Fabienne In-Albon
Career Synopsis: In-Albon’s pursuit of golf as a career was sidetracked by back injuries that kept her out of the game for two years. She has played on the Ladies European Tour since 2014 and won the 2013 Azores Ladies Open on the LET Access Series.
Fun Fact: She played college golf at Purdue University for one year.
Name: Teresa Lu
Career Synopsis: Lu has enjoyed success on the LPGA of Japan Tour, winning nine times between 2013 and 2016. She was a member of the Chinese Taipei team in the International Crown in 2014 and 2016.
Fun Fact: A member of the LPGA Tour from 2006 to 2010, she lives in California.
Name: Candie Kung
Career Synopsis: A four-time winner on the LPGA Tour, Kung’s best major finish was second at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open. Following a decorated junior career, she was a two-time All-American at Southern Cal.
Fun Fact: Born in Taiwan, she moved to the United States in 1995 and later became a naturalized citizen.
Name: Ariya Jutanugarn
Career Synopsis: Jutanugarn became the first golfer from Thailand to win an LPGA event at the 2016 Yokohama LPGA Classic and is the first player to win her first three LPGA tournaments in succession. With a triumph at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, she became the first Thai, male or female, to win a major.
Fun Fact: Her older sister, Moriya, also competes on the LPGA Tour.
Name: Pornanong Phatlum
Career Synopsis: Still looking for her first LPGA win, Phatlum has 11 professional victories around the world including two titles on the Ladies European Tour.
Fun Fact: She is one of the straightest off the tee on the LPGA, currently ranked fifth in Driving Accuracy.
Name: Lexi Thompson
Career Synopsis: Thompson has seven career LPGA victories including the 2014 ANA Inspiration. When she won the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic at 16 years, 7 months, 8 days, she set a record (since broken by Lydia Ko) as youngest LPGA winner.
Fun Fact: Her brothers Nicholas and Curtis are also elite golfers, Nicholas playing on the PGA TOUR and Curtis being a member of the Web.com Tour.
Name: Stacy Lewis
Career Synopsis: Lewis counts the 2011 ANA Inspiration and 2013 Ricoh Women’s British Open among her 11 LPGA victories. A two-time LPGA Player of the Year, Lewis overcame scloliosis to have a decorated amateur career before turning pro in 2008.
Fun Fact: She was married to Gerrod Chadwell, women’s golf coach at the University fo Houston, on Aug. 6.
Name: Gerina Piller
Career Synopsis: A consistent contender on the LPGA Tour, Piller has 30 top-10 finishes including at the ANA Inspiration and U.S. Women’s Open in 2016. Married to PGA TOUR player Martin Piller, she was a key member of the winning 2015 U.S. Solheim Cup team.
Fun Fact: Piller is a native of Roswell, N.M., the same hometown as LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez.