Former Northland golfer Haeji Kang will hope a top-five finish in the latest LPGA event will provide the boost to perform well when she returns for the McKayson New Zealand Women's Open in two weeks.
The Open, to be held at Windross Farm golf course in Auckland from September 28 to October 1, is the first time the global LPGA Tour has come to this country, with the $1.85 million prizemoney making it the richest golf event staged in New Zealand.
Kang, who played in Northland for three years as a young teenager, finished in a share of fifth at the Indy Women in Tech Championship in Indianapolis at the weekend to take her career earnings on the LPGA to about NZ$2.5m.
The Korean-born golfer returned to play in the New Zealand Open in 2012. Kang's family moved to New Zealand for her education and her golf before moving to Australia to further develop her game.
There she won the Australian Girls Championship, was runner-up in the Australian Amateur and the leading amateur at the Australian Ladies Masters. Kang moved to the Futures in the United States where she enjoyed one tournament victory before graduating to the LPGA in 2010 as a teenager.
The 26-year-old has three third placings on the LPGA and her best in the majors was fifth at the ANA Inspiration in 2013. Her best run of form was in 2012 and 2013 when she made 40 of 47 cuts.
"It was great to be back in New Zealand last time. I really enjoyed my time here and I still love the place. I still regard myself as a New Zealander and feel at home there," said Kang.
Hospitality packages for the McKayson New Zealand Women's Open are available. A limited number of four-day season passes are available at $99 plus booking fee.
Single-day passes are available at $39 for Thursday and Friday and $49 per day for Saturday and Sunday - both plus booking fee. All children 16 years and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult.