Michelle Wie a target for AIB Ladies Irish Open

Teenage superstar Michelle Wie is the number one target for next year’s AIB Ladies Irish Open.

But the presence of the 19-year-old Hawaiin prodigy at Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links from June 26-28 will depend on whether or not she wins back her card at this week’s LPGA Qualifying School.

Tournament organiser Roddy Carr is keen to attract big names like Wie, world No 1 Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer or Natalie Gulbis to play the Ladies Irish Open before Ireland stages the 2011 Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle in Co Meath.

Carr admitted: “I would hope to have all those players in the field before 2011, not all at once, but that is my basic shopping list.

“What Michelle Wie does in the Q-School this week will have a big bearing on what she does next year. She played in Germany last season because she had nowhere to play.”

World No 5 Suzann Pettersen of Norway and American tour star Morgan Pressel pocketed big appearance fees to tee it up last year.

Pettersen was reported to have been paid €100,000 to tee it up and walked away with another €67,500 after grabbing a five-stroke victory.

Next season’s event will be one of the biggest on the Ladies European Tour with the prize fund increasing by €50,000 to €500,000 thanks to a €5m Solheim Cup treasure chest provided by Failte Ireland until 2012.

The date has been brought forward two weeks to avoid a possible clash with Padraig Harrington’s bid for a hat-trick of Irish PGA wins at The European Club and some of the women’s Majors.

Carr added: “We changed the date to get away from the Irish PGA but also to fit in with the LPGA schedule next year.

“The Ladies Irish Open falls between a couple of the women’s majors and there is also a ‘one in four rule’ in the US where every top class player has to play every tournament one year in every four. So you can work out when you can and can’t get the players you want.”

At least four Irish tour players will tee it up with the organisers almost certain to invite twin amateur stars Lisa and Leona Maguire and US-based talent Stephanie Meadow.

The event will be staged at Solheim Cup venue Killeen Castle in 2010 but Carr does not rule out a move to a Munster course in 2011 with Fota Island, Killarney, Little Island and Dromoland Castle on the list of possible venues.

Carr explained: “Last year, 44 percent of the crowd came from Munster, which was amazing. There is a huge following down there for women’s golf.

“So we are looking at Munster in 2011 if we have to run the event early because the Solheim Cup will be held in either August or September 2011.”