LPGA Kia Classic Golf Tournament

Nasa Hatoka of Japan acknowledges the gallery after winning the Kia Classic at the Aviara Golf Club on March 31, 2019 in Carlsbad, California.
2019 LPGA Kia Classic winner Nasa Hataoka.

Steve Dykes / Getty Images

The LPGA Kia Classic is a golf tournament played annually in Southern California. It is part of the LPGA Tour, the world's top circuit for professional women golfers.

The format for the Kia Classic is four days of stroke play (Thursday-Sunday), 18 holes per day for 72 holes total. A playoff, if necessary, uses a sudden-death format and immediately follows completion of the 72 holes.

The title sponsor, South Korean-based auto manufacturer Kia Motors, has been involved in the event since it was first played in 2010.

Fast Facts: LPGA Kia Classic

  • Short Description: The LPGA Kia Classic is a golf tournament on the LPGA Tour, the top-level golf tour for women professional golfers.
  • Key Players: Nasa Hataoka (defending champion), Danielle Kang, Inbee Park, Ariya Jutanugarn, Brooke Henderson, Jin Young Ko
  • Tournament Dates: March 26-29, 2020 (tournament days are Thursday-Sunday). The tournament is played annually, usually in late March. 
  • Location: Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, Calif.

The tournament proper is preceded on Monday of tournament week by the pre-qualifier, an 18-hole tournament that awards two places in the field to the two low scorers.

Another event leading up to the tournament's start is Women's Leadership Day, which takes place on Tuesday of tournament week. It is a forum for professional women looking to build business and professional relationships and is open to the public at rates beginning at $125. Past speakers have included Condoleezza Rice, and many LPGA pros take part.

How to Get Tickets

General admission tickets are priced at $20 for any one day, or $40 for the full tournament week (Wednesday through Sunday). Admission is free for children 17 and under (accompanied by a paying adult), retired military, and active duty military plus families.

Upgraded tickets range from $40 to $150, with the upgrades available including access to hospitality areas and, in some cases, free lunch, snacks and full bar. Check the tournament tickets page to purchase online or, for more info, call 1-888-SEE-LPGA.

Tournament Golf Course

The Kia Classic has been played at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, Calif., north of San Diego, since 2013. For the tournament, the course is set up as a par-72 playing 6,609 yards.

Aviara Golf Club is part of the Park Hyatt Aviara resort, and as a resort course it is open to the public. Green fee and tee time information is available on the club website.

The golf course overlooks Batiquitos Lagoon nature preserve, and the resort touts the golf course as "the only coastal California course designed by Arnold Palmer." For daily play, it is a par-72 layout that tips out at 7,007 yards.

In the tournament's first three years, it was played twice at La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., and once at Industry Hills Golf Club in City of Industry, Calif.

Winners of the LPGA Kia Classic

2019 — Nasa Hataoka, 270
2018 — Eun-Hee Ji, 272
2017 — Mirim Lee, 268
2016 — Lydia Ko, 269
2015 — Cristie Kerr, 268
2014 — Anna Nordqvist, 275
2013 — Beatriz Recari, 279
2012 — Yani Tseng, 274
2011 — Sandra Gal, 276
2010 — Hee Kyung Seo, 276

Recari's victory was earned in a playoff—she defeated I.K. Kim for the title. And Gal's win was via a playoff victory over Jiyai Shin. Gal's win in this event is her only LPGA Tour victory to date. Tseng's win in 2012 was her last victory on the LPGA Tour.

Tournament Records

The 18-hole scoring record in the LPGA Kia Classic is 62. That score was first recorded in the third round of the 2019 tournament by M.J. Hur, and then matched in the fourth round by Hyo-Joo Kim. Hur and Kim lowered by two strokes the previous tournament-best, a 64 shot by Jiyai Shin in 2011.

The 9-hole scoring record is 29, shared by Hur and Kim and from their 2019 rounds of 62.

The 72-hole scoring record is 268, achieved twice: by Cristie Kerr in 2015 and Mirim Lee in 2017.

The largest margin of victory in tournament history is six strokes, achieved three times: by Hee Kyung Seo in the inaugural Kia Classic in 2010; by Yani Tseng in 2012; and by Mirim Lee in 2017.