Lydia Ko, In Gee Chun, Mamiko Higa
9:14 a.m. – 1st Tee
Fresh of her fourth top 10 finish in her last five starts, Lydia Ko is teeing it up at this week’s TOTO Japan Classic. Ko is making her third appearance in Japan where she finished T5 last year. She will play the opening round alongside In Gee Chun and Mamiko Higa. Chun is making her first start since winning the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship two weeks ago. She’s making her third appearance in Japan, where she finished inside the top 20 in her first two starts. Higa burst on to the LPGA scene at the 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open and finished T4 for the week. The native of Japan is making her fourth start in this event, where she’s finished inside the top 5 in two of her three prior appearances.
So Yeon Ryu, Nasa Hataoka, Nelly Korda
9:25 a.m. – 1st Tee
This week, So Yeon Ryu returns to Japan where she won her second worldwide victory of the season in September. Those fond memories could serve her well this week as she looks to regain some positive vibes about her game
“Right now, I’m not happy with my swing, so I’m going to go to the range to find out what’s the key point to get back to the right feeling,” Ryu said. “Hopefully I can have a good feeling until Friday morning, then look forward to playing golf in front of the Japanese golf fans.”
Ryu is coming off a T18 finish last week in Chinese Taipei. She’ll play the opening round alongside Japan’s own Nasa Hataoka and Nelly Korda. Hataoka is the midst of a breakout season on Tour, having picked up her first victory on Tour. She’s coming off a T12 finish last week and is making her second start at the TOTO Japan Classic, where she finished T33 in 2017. Korda is also enjoying her best season on Tour and arrives in Japan fresh off her first career victory at last week’s Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan. She’s making her debut in Japan this week.
Ariya Jutanugarn, Shanshan Feng, Misuzu Narita
9:36 a.m. – 1st Tee
After taking last week off, Ariya Jutanugarn returns to action this week in Japan. The new Rolex Rankings’ world No. 1 player is looking to pick up right where she left off with top 3 finishes in her last two starts on Tour. She’s making her fourth appearance in Japan where she has twice finished inside the top 10. She will play the opening around alongside two-time defending champion, Shanshan Feng, who is looking to make it three in a row this week. Feng, who remains in search of her first win of the year, is confident she can win again despite the change in venue this year.
“Although this is a new course and it’s my first time here, seeing my face everywhere, it reminds me about good memories in the past,” Feng said about seeing her likeness on the Tournament’s promotional materials. “I’m just really enjoying it.”
Japan’s Misuzu Narita is the third member of this group and making her seventh appearance in this event, where she recorded her best finish of T13 in 2014.
Minjee Lee, Lexi Thompson, Ai Suzuki
9:47 a.m. – 1st Tee
Minjee Lee arrives in Japan as one of the hottest players this season on Tour. She’s coming off a runner-up finish in Chinese Taipei, which was one of 12 top 10s she’s recorded in addition to a win in 2018. She’s making her third start in japan where she has never finished outside the top 10. She’s grouped with Lexi Thompson and Ai Suzuki during the opening round of the TOTO Japan Classic. Thompson is making her first start in three weeks, she finished 13th in her last start in Korea. She’s making just her fourth start in Korea where she recorded a top 10 finish in 2015. Thompson remains in search of her first win of the season despite coming close throughout the year with six top 10s. Suzuki, who finished runner up in her native Japan at the TOTO Japan Classic in 2017, is making her fifth start in the event.