The second stop of the season takes the LPGA Tour to Chonburi, Thailand this week for the Honda LPGA Thailand 2013.
Yani Tseng returns to Siam Country Club’s Old Course looking for a three-peat as the 2011 and 2012 champion. Last year, she successfully defended her title at the Honda LPGA Thailand by nearly holing out from a 104-yard approach shot on the par-5 18th and sank the tap-in birdie putt to capture a one-shot victory over the 2010 champion of this event, Ai Miyazato. Tseng went on to win two more titles in the next four events, and enters this week after finishing second at the season-opener in Australia last week. She crossed the $9 million mark in career earnings on Sunday, but it wasn’t quite enough to etch her name into the records books again. The 24-year-old came one event shy of tying Lorena Ochoa’s record for fastest player to reach $9 million in career earnings on Sunday with a runner-up finish at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
South Korea’s Jiyai Shin enters this week rolling off her 11th LPGA Tour title at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open after outdueling amateur Lydia Ko and Tseng in the final round. She turned some heads last year after a tiresome two-week stretch of golf when she defeated Paula Creamer in a two-day, nine-hole playoff at the Kingsmill Championship and turned around to win the RICOH Women’s British Open just a few short days later.
Ko is also slated to be in the field as a sponsor invite this week in search of continuing to build on her third professional golf victory in New Zealand and third place finish in Australia. The 15-year-old phenom gained the attention of golf fans around the world when she became the youngest player in LPGA Tour history to win an event at the CN Canadian Women’s Open. She’ll be sure to turn heads this season while fans continue to question whether or not she’ll petition to turn pro after all her success so far.
Other players likely to make a statement and continue their positive momentum so far this season is Beatriz Recari, Carlota Ciganda, Katherine Hull-Kirk, Catriona Matthew and Anna Nordqvist, who all finished in the top-10 at the season-opener.
Moriya Jutanugarn, the South Atlantic Ladies Amateur champion, will make her second start of the season and first in her native Thailand as an LPGA Tour pro this week. The 18-year-old had a solid start to her rookie season last week, topping out at third place to take the lead in the Rolex Rookie of the Year race.