SINGAPORE WELCOME’S THE WORLD’S BEST AGAIN
A stacked field of 60 players will compete this week in Singapore for the ninth staging of the HSBC Women’s Champions at Sentosa Golf Club. The world’s elite female golfers will take on the Serapong Course this week with six past champions in the field including defending champion and world No. 2 Inbee Park. Fellow winners here include Ai Miyazato (2010), Karrie Webb (2011), Angela Stanford (2012), Stacy Lewis (2013) and Paula Creamer (2014).
All 10 of the top-10 players in the world will tee it up and fight for the $1.5 million purse while only two players are missing from the top-25. All four winners in 2016 (Hyo Joo Kim, Ha Na Jang, Haru Nomura and Lexi Thompson) are will also be in action.
This year will mark the fourth year the event will take place at Sentosa Golf Club after being played for the first five years at Tanah Merah Country Club. Lorena Ochoa (2008) holds the tournament scoring record of 20-under par set at Tanah Merah while Stacy Lewis (2013) and Inbee Park (2015) have set the scoring mark of 15-under at Sentosa.
WORLD NO. 1 RETURNS TO ACTION
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko will return to action after taking last week in Thailand off. The 18-year old has had a sensational start to the 2016 season and recorded two top-3 finishes in her two LPGA appearances and defended her title in her home country at the LET/ALPG co-sanctioned ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open. She was T3 in her debut at the Coates Golf Championship and runner-up at the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open.
Ko has fared well in her two appearances in Singapore and finished 15th in 2014 and runner-up a year ago. She was in the final group last season alongside Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis and shot a final-round 70 to finish two shots behind Park.
Ko currently ranks third in scoring average (69.375), fifth in bridies (36) and fifth on the money list ($199,646)
|LYDIA KO’S WORLDWIDE RECORD SO FAR in 2016
|Coates Golf Championship
|ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open (LET/ALPG)
|ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open
LEXI LOOKING POISED FOR HUGE YEAR
If last week was a sample of what Lexi Thompson is capable of on a consistent basis, the rest of the Tour should be concerned. Thompson put on a ball striking clinic at Siam Country Club in Pattaya and tied it together with a solid putting week to blow the field away by six shots for her seventh LPGA title.
Thompson said she worked on the mental aspect of her game in the offseason along with her short game and it proved to pay off nicely. With her length (averaging a Tour-leading 290 yards off the tee) and an above average attitude, Thompson will be having plenty to smile about in 2016. With her win last week, Thompson surpassed Stacy Lewis for the No. 3 ranking in the world and unseats her as the top-ranked American, a title Lewis has held since June 4, 2012.
“Just overall my outlook on life being more positive and realizing that golf isn’t my life,” said Thompson. “It’s just what I do. It’s not who I am. Just coming out here, not getting so mad at bad shots. I still get frustrated. I’m human. But that’s the way I get even and I just try to go into the next shot with a positive attitude. And it’s helped me with the wins last year there in Korea, Michigan and especially at Solheim too. Just keeping my nerves under control with the breathing, this one here it helped dramatically.”
Thompson has played well in Singapore in her first three appearances and has yet to finish outside the top 16. Previous finishes include: T12 in 2015, T16 in 2014 and T8 in 2013.
REAL DEAL ROOKIE
It won’t take many by surprise that In Gee Chun has seemed to make a seamless transition from the LPGA of Korea (KLPGA) to the LPGA Tour this season. In just her first two starts in her rookie year, Chun finished in a tie for third at the Coates Golf Championship and runner-up last week to Lexi Thompson in Thailand. The player nicknamed “Dumbo” who is quickly becoming known for her amiable personality is the only rookie in the field this week, earning a spot based on her Rolex Ranking.
The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion is the clear front runner for the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year and currently has 166 points in the race, 96 points ahead of the next rookie on the list, Gaby Lopez. Chun leads the Tour in scoring average (69.25), ranks second in birdies (39) and has ascended to No. 6 in the Rolex Rankings with her finish in Thailand last week.
The 21-year old South Korea native has plenty of professional experience and comes over from the KLPGA with eight career victories. She had five wins last year en route to Player of the Year honors, money title and scoring average title.