As the Official Automaker of the Ladies of Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and the Official Tournament Vehicle for eight LPGA events, Kia is a major supporter of the sport and its impressive female athletes. This past March marked the third annual Kia Classic, where some of the LPGA’s most competitive players went head-to-head for an array of enviable awards.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng finished in first place with a six-shot victory over Sun Young Yoo. Finishing behind Tseng and Yoo were Shanshan Feng, Jiyai Shin, Ai Miyazato and Caroline Hedwall. At age 22, Tseng made history as the youngest golfer (male or female) to claim five major championships. She also won the Rolex Player of the Year award in both 2010 and 2011, and was named by the United States Sports Academy as the female 2011 Athlete of the Year.
The 2012 Kia Classic was held March 19-25 at the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, CA. Although the $1.7 million purse included a first-place check for $225,000, perhaps the players’ biggest motivation wasn’t the cash. The tournament winner, along with the four recipients of the end-of-the-year Kia Performance Awards, receive an all-new Optima Limited. The midsize sedans are some of the first to exit the production line at Kia’s U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia. The 2012 Optima Limited boasts high-grade Nappa leather seats, class-leading horsepower and an Infinity® audio system.
The end-of-the-year Kia Performance Awards will be presented at the CME Group Titleholders even in November, and include the following honors:
- Kia Power Drive. Awarded to the player with the longest average driving distance.
- Kia Drive to the Top. For the player with the most Top 10 finishes.
- Kia Most Compelling Performance. Recognizing a player with exceptional performances throughout the entire year; this award is chosen by fans through an online vote.
- Kia Community Assist. Awarded to a player who makes extraordinary contributions to charity organizations or community programs.
"Kia is one of the fastest growing auto brands in the U.S., and sports marketing initiatives such as our involvement with the LPGA have significantly raised awareness and consideration for the brand and our vehicles," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, Kia Motors America. "We are pleased to offer an enhanced prize package for the winner of this year's Kia Classic. The Optima Limited is Kia's most refined and premium product offering to date, and we are excited to showcase the vehicle to golf fans at the Kia Classic and reward some of the tour's best players for their outstanding performances."
A familiar face at this year’s Kia Classic was golf superstar Michelle Wie, Kia’s official golf ambassador. The two-time LPGA winner drives her Soul to class at Stanford University in northern California. You can also see Wie in Kia’s advertisements, including a recent TV spot in which the golfer displays her unmatched abilities on the course. Check out the video for yourself:
For more information about the 2012 Kia Classic and its winners, visit www.lpga.com/kiaclassic.aspx?mid=1&pid=0.