Lydia Ko, Seung Hyun Lee, Michelle Wie
9:34 a.m. – 1st Tee
Both Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie returned to the winner’s circle in 2018, and for Wie, it’ll be a return to action for the first time in weeks after battling injury.
Wie, who won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March – her first victory on the LPGA Tour since 2014 – hasn’t played a stroke-play event since late July. She withdrew after 12 holes of the first round of the RICOH Women’s British Open due to a wrist injury, which she’s be rehabbing since. She teed it up at last week’s UL International Crown, notching one point for the American squad that finished tied for second.
Ko, meanwhile, last teed it up at The Evian Championship where she finished tied for 10th. That result was her seventh top-10 of the season, including a victory at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in April – her first win since 2016.
Wie and Ko are joined by Seung Hyun Lee, a winner on the KLPGA this year. Lee is 51st in the Rolex Rankings.
Cristie Kerr, Amy Yang, Ha Na Jang
9:56 a.m. – 10th Tee
Amy Yang, the winner of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in 2013, leads this trio.
Yang, who has five top-5 finishes on the LPGA Tour this year, captured the 2013 event in her home country in a playoff. It was her first LPGA Tour victory.
Cristie Kerr, who earned three points for the American side at the UL International Crown last week, hasn’t won in 2018 but did finish tie for second at the KIA Classic in March. She finished tied for 12th and tied for seventh here in 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Jang hasn’t played much on the LPGA Tour since heading back to her native South Korea to be closer to her family. But that hasn’t stopped her from competing. The four-time LPGA Tour winner has won twice this year on the KLPGA.
Jin Young Ko, Lexi Thompson, Carlota Ciganda
10:29 a.m. – 1st Tee
It’s a trio of past champions in this group.
Ko, the defending champion, managed to hold off some serious charges from her countrywomen Sung Hyun Park and In Gee Chun. Ko, in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, has won and notched 10 top-10’s, leading the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year ranking. Ko set the 72-hole scoring record at this event a year ago, finishing at 19-under par.
Ciganda won in a playoff in 2016 after Alison Lee lost a five-stroke lead in the final five holes. It was Ciganda’s second victory of the year. She has five top-10 finishes in 2018 including a solo third – her best result – at the U.S. Women’s Open.
Thompson, who took a personal break for a month mid-summer, hasn’t yet won in 2018, but comes into this week with some good vibes after notching 3.5 points for the U.S.A at the UL International Crown (the highest point-getter for the squad).
Sung Hyun Park, Brooke Henderson, Ariya Jutanugarn
10:40 a.m. – 1st Tee
No’s 1 and 2 in the Rolex Rankings are paired together for the first two rounds of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, joined by the only other golfer who has won more than once on the LPGA Tour this year.
Sung Hyun Park, fresh off winning the UL International Crown as part of the victorious South Korean squad, is hoping to keep that momentum going in Incheon this week. She’s a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour this year, has been No.1 on the Rolex Rankings for nine straight weeks, and finished runner-up here a year ago.
Ariya Jutanugarn, meanwhile, has a strong hold on the Race to the CME Globe, leading by about 1,000 points. She’s also won three times this year and sits just 0.26 points behind Park for top spot in the Rolex Rankings.
After what was the longest break of Henderson’s professional career, she’s itching to get back to business this week in Korea. Henderson has won twice this year and sits third on the Race to the CME Globe. She moved back into the top-10 in the Rolex Rankings after her tie for 10th at The Evian Championship, one of her 10 top-10 finishes this season.