News Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Area LPGA hopeful receives surprise sponsorship

CARLSBAD — The top 44 amateur female golfers battled wind and wet greens at La Costa Resort on March 9 to compete for two spots to play in the upcoming LPGA Kia Classic. Alison Lee, of Valencia, and Kaitlin Drolson, of Del Mar, made the cut with scores of 77 and 78.
Lee is a high school freshman who ranked No. 5 in the AJGA Polo Girls’ Golf Rankings. She also earned six straight top 10 rankings in AJGA events last season, and qualified for the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open.
Drolson is a sophomore at Pepperdine University and alumni of Torrey Pines High School. She was named 2006 SDJGA Player of the Year.
Local favorite Rachel Morris, of Carlsbad, who ranked No. 4 in the AJGA Polo Girls’ Golf Rankings, just missed the cut with a score of 79.
There was also a surprise announcement that Kia will sponsor FUTURES Tour player and Rancho Bernardo native Tiffany Joh to join the competition. Pro golfer Brittany Lincicome broke the news to Joh during the prequalifying event. Joh said she thought she was invited to promote the amateur qualifier and had no idea she would be invited to play in the Kia Classic. “I had no clue coming out here,” Joh said.
Joh is known for her strong golf game and her spirit on and off the course. She has a sizable number of Twitter followers, a contagious smile, and is known by half a dozen nicknames on the course. Joh humbly describes herself as a bit awkward and nervous.
Joh hit a playing slump last year in her first year as a professional golfer. Joh said the slump affirmed her love of the game. “It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Joh said. “It’s empowering to love a game that’s slapping you in the face.”
Lincicome, who won the Kraft Nabisco Championship last year with an amazing putt at the 18th hole, will also be competing in the Kia Classic. Lincicome is known for being one of the longest drivers in women’s golf. She said she looks forward to playing the 18-hole long drive course at La Costa. “A longer course is better for me,” Lincicome said.
A champion golfer, blonde with Amazon stature — if Lincicome sounds perfect, another kudo is that she has a Barbie 10 Women to Watch “I Can Be” Barbie doll modeled after her.
The Kia Classic will be the first U.S. event for Lincicome this year. Lincicome played in the Honda PTT LPGA in Thailand and HSBC Women’s Championship in Singapore in February. “I feel I was playing it well,” Lincicome said. “I was hitting it very, very well.”
The inaugural LPGA Kia Classic will be held at La Costa Resort March 22 to March 28. Competition will begin March 25 with 144 players. Cuts will be made March 27 with the 70 best scoring players battling it out in the final two days of competition.
Special deals for the Kia Classic include ticket discounts for those who drop off military care package items, free admission for active duty military, and free parking for Kia drivers.
For more information on the LPGA Kia Classic, visit www.lpgalacosta. Tournament updates will be posted on Facebook at kiaclassic.
For video from the prequalifying event, visit www.