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4 players endure rough conditions for LPGA spots

TAIPEI--Two Taiwanese were among four players who survived brutal weather conditions Friday to qualify for Taiwan's LPGA event set for the end of October.

Wei Yun-jye and Yao Hsuan-yu of Taiwan, Jayvie Agojo of the Philippines and Tiranan Yoopan of Thailand all earned spots in the Sunrise LPGA Championship after a two-day qualifying tournament.

The 33-year-old Wei won the qualifying event with a two-round total of 149, or 5-over par.

“I'm really happy to win the chance and really look forward to the event,” said Wei, who was invited to take part in the LPGA tournament last year and finished tied for 78th at 15-over 303.

Yao, who finished second among Taiwanese players in the qualifier with a 9-over 153, said she was delighted with the result and really enjoyed Friday's round despite the heavy winds and occasional showers that disrupted play.

The qualifier, played at the Sunrise Golf and Country Club in Yangmei in Northern Taiwan, was affected by Typhoon Jelawat as the storm swirled close to the island's East Coast.

Both Agojo and Yoopan, who carded a 9-over 153 and a 15-over 159, respectively, also described the course conditions as the “most difficult” they have ever faced.

A total of 23 players, 19 from Taiwan and four from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, braved the weather to vie for qualifying places in the US$2 million tournament, the most lucrative sports event held in Taiwan.

The top two players from Taiwan and the top two of the four international golfers were given qualifying spots.

The LPGA tourney, to be held Oct. 25-28, will have a field of 78 players, the bulk of which will be made up of the top 68 on the LPGA money list as of Sept. 18. Any spots not taken by players in the top 68 will be given to others lower in the rankings.

The other 10 spots will be filled by Friday's four qualifiers and six players who get sponsor exemptions.

Eight of the top 10 golfers on the LPGA money list are expected to play in the tournament, including defending champion and world No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan.

She will be joined by Inbee Park, Na Yeon Choi, Jiyai Shin and So Yeon Ryu of South Korea; Ai Miyazato of Japan; Azahara Munoz of Spain; and Shanshan Feng of China.

Tseng won last year's event, the first LPGA-sanctioned tournament ever played in Taiwan, by five strokes over Munoz and Amy Yang of South Korea with a 16-under 272. It was also the seventh LPGA victory of her breakout 2011 season.

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