Week of February 18, 2013
Honda LPGA Thailand
Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course, Chonburi, Thailand
Only nine players in LPGA history have won the same event in at least three consecutive seasons. Yani Tseng will try to join that elite group this week at the Honda LPGA Thailand as she tries to go for her third straight victory on the Pattaya Old Course at Siam Country Club. Tseng is coming off a strong finish at last week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open where she finished runner-up.
Race for No. 1
Last year when Yani Tseng headed to Thailand for her second event of the 2012 LPGA season, she held a nearly seven point advantage over Rolex Rankings No. 2 Suzann Pettersen. Since then, Tseng’s lead in that top spot has shrunk dramatically. Entering this week’s Honda LPGA Thailand, Tseng leads by just an average of 1.29 points over current No. 2 Na Yeon Choi. Tseng bolstered her lead slightly with her runner-up finish in Australia last week, where Choi was not in the field as she’ll make her 2013 LPGA season debut this week. Tseng has held the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings for 106 consecutive weeks.
Watch out for the youngster
It was less than six months ago that amateur Lydia Ko became the youngest winner in LPGA history when she won the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open at the age of 15 years, 4 months and 2 days. The teenage sensation has continued to make a splash on the golf scene at the start of the 2013 season, becoming the youngest winner ever on the Ladies European Tour two weeks ago at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open and making a run at a second LPGA title at last week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Ko, who co-led in Australia after three rounds, shot a final-round 76 to finish four shots behind winner, Jiyai Shin. Ko will be in the field for this week’s Honda LPGA Thailand on a sponsor’s exemption.
Honda LPGA Thailand
Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course
Field: 70 players (69 pros and 1 amateur)
Par: 36-36, 72
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Defending champion: Yani Tseng
Feb. 21 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Tape)
Feb. 22 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (Tape)
Feb. 23 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. (Tape)
Feb. 24 1:30 – 6:00 p.m. (Tape)
All times Eastern
***This week’s field information: Honda LPGA Thailand***
2013 LPGA Tour rookies (2)
Moriya Jutanugarn, Ayako Uehara
2012 LPGA Official Money List
Top 10: 10/10
Top 20: 20/20
Top 50: 49/50 (Lindsey Wright – 49)
2012 – Yani Tseng
2011 – Yani Tseng
2010 – Ai Miyazato
2009 – Lorena Ochoa
2007 – Suzann Pettersen
2006 – Hee-Won Han
Press conference schedule
Wednesday, Feb. 20
Yani Tseng, Na Yeon Choi, Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park & Pornanong Phatlum – 2:00 p.m. local time
*Times are approximate and subject to change.
(all times are local in Thailand)
***Symetra Tour current player and alum factoids***
The Symetra Tour – the Road to the LPGA – will kick off its 2013 season this week in Mesa, Ariz. with the VisitMesa.com Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club. The inaugural event begins the season-long Volvik Race for the Card where Symetra Tour players vie for 10 LPGA Tour cards. Since 1999, the Symetra Tour has annually awarded LPGA membership to its top-10 money winners. This year will mark the second season that all 10 of those players will receive full, equal status for the following season on the LPGA Tour.
With more than 500 alumnae including Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr, and last year’s Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 371 LPGA titles, including 40 major championships.
Symetra by the numbers in this week’s Field:
A total of 28 Symetra Tour alum will tee-it-up at this week’s Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course in Chonburi, Thailand for the second stop on this year’s LPGA schedule.
Look for Jimin Kang, who won the 2002 M&T Bank Loretto Jutures Golf Classic on the Symetra Tour, to post a solid finish this week as she returns to a place full of good memories. Last year, Kang shot rounds of 70-72-69-67 to post a season-best tied for fifth finish.
Also set to compete this week are Symetra Tour graduates Mi Jung Hur, Cindy LaCrosse, Jenny Shin, Inbee Park, and Gerina Piller, who all earned their LPGA Tour cards through the Volvik Race for the Card. Park, who earned her card in 2006, is looking to improve on a 2012 season that included two victories and was awarded the Vare Trophy for lowest stroke average. She also placed in the top-10 in nine additional statistical categories including rounds under par, putting average, and top-10 finishes.