LPGA, HSBC Women's World Championships Preview
Singapore Purse: $1,500,000 Race to the CME Globe: 500 Points
The big story of the week is the return to the LPGA of the defending champion Inbee Park 박인비. Park who as won this tournament twice before in 2015 & 17 has been away from the LPGA since the Women's British Open due to injury.
She has been busy though as she was involved in carrying the Winter Olympic torch in South Korea, “Words really cannot describe how the overall experience meant to me,” said Park . She has played a few events on the Korean LPGA (KLPGA) and you can not write off the defending champion. The world number 17 will look for a good start to her season.
After Jessica Korda's jaw dropping performance last week including a course record 62, she has to be at the top of the list of contenders this week. Jessica played stunning golf and beat off competition from 7 of the worlds top 10 players. She hardly hit a ball all winter due to jaw surgery on the off season to remove her headaches. It went well and she won her first tournament of the year. It was her birthday on Tuesday so could this round off the perfect week.
18 year old Choi Hye-jin (최혜진) is definitely one to watch for the future. The South Korean is one of our top 10 to watch for 2018. She is attending a University in South Korea so is not playing too many events on the LPGA this season. However, she played in the Australian masters finishing 2nd and she will look to go one better here. Last year she won the Order of Merit on the KLPGA by more than double the points of 2nd place and she has just broken into the worlds top 10 at the age of 18!
The golfer who beat Hye Jin Choi to the Australian Mastesr was fellow South Korean Jin Young Ko 고진영. The win was her first as a pro on the LPGA and the perfect start to her rookie season. She finished 7th last week in Thailand and currently leads the rookie of the season race from Australian Hannah Green. One of the keys to her success has been her accuracy, leading the way in Driving accuracy and GIR.
Another golfer to start the season well is Australian Minjee Lee (above). She has now climbed to world number 15. Her season could not have started better winning the first event of the season on the LET, the Oates Vic Open in Australia. She has then backed that up with a 4th and 5th place on the LPGA. It is a great start to the season and it will be interesting to see if she can keep the momentum here in Singapore on the world stage.
After moving to world number 2 on Monday Lexi Thompson (above) has her sights firmly fixed on the top spot. A position she has never held. Currently Shanshan Feng of China sits at number 1 in the world. The 2 players will be contesting for top spot here at the HSBC World Championships as well as the rankings. Both have made great starts to the season with neither finishing lower than 6th in either of the tournaments they have played so far.
Finally flying low under the radar is Brittany Lincicome. She seems to have been forgotten when discussing potential winners. She won the opening event of the season defending her title in the Bahamas before backing the victory up with a strong 7th place finish last week.
Other players to keep an eye on will be South Korea's Sung Hyun Park who won the US open last year, the Jutanugarn sisters who have played every event so far this season and have both made good solid starts, and Brooke Henderson who will look to pick up her first win of the year after a good couple of finishes.
This week- Minjee Lee (Australia)
Shanshan Feng (5th)
Brooke Henderson (9th)
Cheyenne Woods (34th)