Yani Tseng returns to Siam Country Club’s Old Course as the 2011 champion with hopes to defend her first title of the season. She posted a 15-under-par 273 through four rounds at last year’s event to defeat Michelle Wie by 5 strokes. Tseng made huge strides in the 2011 season, becoming the youngest player ever to win five majors after claiming the RICOH Women’s British Open and was the youngest LPGA player to win four majors after her victory at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Tseng also enters the season as the youngest player to consecutively win Rolex Player of the Year awards and currently holds the No. 1 spot for 2012.
The top 30 players from 2011 LPGA Official Money List are slated to be in the field this year, including Karrie Webb, I.K. Kim and Paula Creamer who all finished in the top 10 in Thailand last year.
Webb went on to record her 37th and 38th LPGA career victories in the two weeks following the 2011 Honda LPGA Thailand with back-to-back wins at the HSBC Women’s Championship and RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.
Kim tied for third along with Webb at the 2011 Honda LPGA Thailand just six shots of Tseng’s pace. The 23-year-old recorded 10 top-10 finishes last year and opened the 2012 season with a tie for 24th at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open last week.
Rolex Rankings No. 5 Creamer makes her 2012 debut this week in Thailand with hopes of improving on her fifth place finish last season. Creamer also ended the 2011 season with 10 top-10 finishes including ties for second at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup and CME Group Titleholders. She placed ninth on the 2011 LPGA Official Money List after collecting just shy of $1 million.
Other top names likely to make a statement at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2012 this year are Ai Miyazato, who won the 2010 Honda LPGA Thailand, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome and Julieta Granada, who all tied for second at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open last week, and Suzann Pettersen, who currently holds the No. 2 spot on the Rolex Rankings and is coming off a tie for 22nd in Australia. She won the 2007 Honda LPGA Thailand for her career-best fifth victory in the 2007 season.
Numa Gulyanamitta, the 2011 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament medalist, will make her second start of the season and first in her native Thailand. Numa, sister of former LPGA member Russy, missed the cut in her first event as a member of the LPGA last week.