New course, another new winner?
After calling Tanah Merah Country Club home for its first five years, the HSBC Women’s Champions will move to a new course this year for the sixth staging of the event. The Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club will host the impressive field of 63 professionals this week in Singapore and could welcome another new winner. In its five-year history, the tournament has celebrated five different champions and could easily see another this year. Angela Stanford will set out to defend her title this week and hopes to improve on her finishes in Australia (T28) and Thailand (T25) in the season’s first two weeks.
Players to look out for:
Beatriz Recari- off to a red-hot start to 2013; currently ranks 4th on the 2013 money list after a T3 in Australia and T4 in Thailand
Stacy Lewis- the reigning Rolex Player of the Year admitted to having to brush some rust off at the opening of the 2013, but is coming off a solid week last week where she finished T3 at the Honda LPGA Thailand
Yani Tseng- The world No. 1 is always being watched, but she’s looking true to form after a slight swing change last week in Thailand and has had bursts of brilliant golf the past two weeks
It’s not whether you get knocked down, but whether you get back up: this will have to be the motto for 17-year Ladies European Tour rookie Ariya Jutanugarn after a heartbreaking turn of events on the final hole of the Honda LPGA Thailand last week. The Thailand native had the whole country rallying behind what looked like would be the first time a Thai player would win an LPGA even. But Jutanugarn, who had a two-shot lead heading to the 18th hole, found disaster when she triple bogeyed to let her first LPGA victory slip away.
After taking a drop and one-stroke penalty for an unplayable ball in the front bunker, Jutanugarn hit her fourth shot over the green and with a tricky downhill shot facing her, she left it short with the ball still on the fringe. Her putt -- her sixth shot of the hole -- slid by and she had about a 3-foot uphill putt left to make for double-bogey in order to force a playoff. But the putt rimmed the hole and Jutanugarn tapped in for an eight which gave Park the one-shot victory. How will the teen phenom bounce back after the painful finish in front of her hometown crowd? Jutanugarn earned a sponsor exemption for this week’s event in Singapore.
Full week for Yani?
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng has kept herself in contention in the season’s first two events with Sunday final round surges, but the Taiwanese star said she needs to put a full week of good golf together in order to break back into the winner’s circle. Tseng had two outstanding final rounds in Australia and Thailand, with a 7-under 66 and a 9-under 63, to boost her to a runner-up and T3 finish.
“Hopefully next week I can start a little earlier and still finish strong,” Tseng said after her finish in Thailand. “I feel like this is more like me. When I play my best I always finish strong on the weekend but last year at the end, on the weekend, I’m always struggling. But this is what I like to feel – to play aggressive and have fun and relax.”
February 28 – March 3
HSBC Women’s Champions
Sentosa Golf Club, The Serapong Course
Field: 63 players (all professionals)
Par: 36-36, 72
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Defending champion: Angela Stanford
Feb. 28 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Tape)
March 1 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Tape)
March 2 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. (Tape)
March 3 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. (Tape)
All times Eastern
***This week’s field information: Honda LPGA Thailand***
2013 LPGA Tour rookies (1)
2012 LPGA Official Money List
Top 10: 9/10
Top 20: 19/20
Top 50: 48/50
2012 – Angela Stanford
2011 – Karrie Webb
2010 – Ai Miyazato
2009 – Jiyai Shin
2008 – Lorena Ochoa
Press conference schedule
Tuesday, Feb. 26
Yani Tseng, Paula Creamer, Suzann Pettersen & Angela Stanford – 10:30 a.m. local time
Wednesday, Feb. 27
Stacy Lewis All times TBD following 7:30 a.m. morning pro-am
Na Yeon Choi
*Times are approximate and subject to change.
(all times are local in Singapore)
***Symetra Tour current player and alum factoids***
The Symetra Tour will have a big presence this week in Singapore with three of the past five champions coming through the Road to the LPGA. Twenty-six Symetra Tour alumni will make starts this week while current member and Singapore native Christabel Goh earned her way into the field by winning the Host Country Qualifying Tournament in late January.
Jaclyn Sweeney (Bradenton, Fla.) won the Symetra Tour’s season-opening VisitMesa.com Gateway Classic last week in Mesa, Ariz. Sweeney’s second-career victory earned her a spot in the LPGA Tour’s domestic opener at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix, Ariz. next month.