TAIPEI, Taiwan – Suzann Pettersen leads a star-studded field into this week's $2 million Sunrise Taiwan Championship as she pushes her quest to overtake South Korea's Inbee Park at the top of the LPGA Tour rankings.
Pettersen, the defending champion, will be joined by Americans Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie and Taiwanese favorite Yani Tseng in the field for the four-round event beginning Thursday.
Local interest is fixed on former No. 1-ranked Tseng, the 2011 Sunrise champion, who has now slipped to 25th place in the LPGA rankings.
"It's great to come back home to somewhere you are so familiar with," she told reporters. "I trained here for a few years and know the golf course very well."
Even with a victory in Taiwan, Pettersen cannot overhaul Park this week. But the Norwegian golfer knows a good result here would set up a nail-biting end to the LPGA season.
Park is not competing in Taiwan.
Pettersen is certainly aware that she is within striking range of the No. 1 ranking, but insisted "it's not something I wake up and tell myself every day."
"All I can do is go out and play good golf and try to win tournaments," she said.
This is the third consecutive year the LPGA Tour is conducting an event in Taiwan. Local interest is high, and thousands of fans are expected to travel to the suburban Taipei course, which sits high on a rolling bluff and is known for its extremely windy conditions.