CHINESE TAIPEI’S OWN WEI-LING HSU LEADS THROUGH 36 HOLES
Playing at home this week, Chinese Taipei’s own Wei-Ling Hsu (-9) has taken the 36-hole lead at the 2018 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship in Taoyuan City. This marks just the second time that Hsu has held the overnight lead at any point in her LPGA career.
The crowds around Hsu have been getting bigger each day, as they hope to witness the first player from Chinese Taipei to win on the LPGA since Teresa Lu at the 2013 Mizuno Classic. A victory would also make Hsu the second player from Chinese Taipei to win this event, joining Yani Tseng who won the first edition in 2011.
Hsu said of the fan support, “It's very cool. This is the most fans around me. I don't have that chance before. So it's pretty cool that everybody is cheering for me and they are like, 'Good luck' and like 'Go get it, Wei-Ling,' something like that. Pretty cool that people are cheering for me and really supporting.”
First-round leader Jodi Ewart Shadoff followed her opening 65 with a 71 on Friday, putting her one shot behind Hsu in solo second at 8-under par. 15-time LPGA champion and 2015 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship winner Lydia Ko had seven birdies on Friday to shoot a second-round 66 and moved into solo third place at -7. Nelly Korda of the USA and Mirim Lee of the Republic of Korea are tied in fourth at 6-under par.
HSU DOMINATING PAR 5s
Through two rounds, Wei-Ling Hsu is a combined 7-under par playing the par 5s at Ta Shee Golf & Country Club. She has birdied hole No. 3 and No. 14 both days, had a hole-out from nearly 100 yards for eagle on hole No. 6 in the first round and added a birdie on hole No. 10 in the second round.
Hsu said she has managed her distances well this week, leaving herself with comfortable numbers to hit her approach shots from so far, and she has been hot with her putter (ranks T6 in putting this week).
“The putting just gave me a lot of confidence, because the greens are very soft,” Hsu. “I was able to aim like straight at the pin. So overall, very happy for my putting and hitting the ball.”
STRONG TIES TO TOURNAMENT FOR KO
The first win as an LPGA member for Lydia Ko came at the 2014 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in San Francisco at the age of 17 years old. She would later commemorate the win by getting a tattoo of the date of her victory, April 27, 2014, in Roman numerals on her right wrist.
In 2015, Ko would go on to defend her Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic title for her seventh career victory and then won in Chinese Taipei in what is now the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Classic for her 10th LPGA title.
“I feel like I have a great relationship with the people here at Swinging Skirts, Chairman Wang and everyone has been super supportive,” Ko said. “I love coming here. The food is amazing and the fans are great, and especially with so many of the Taiwanese players playing such great golf, I think everyone is super excited to see the LPGA.”
JODI IS READY TO CHASE
Jodi Ewart Shadoff is alone in second place heading into the third round after leading the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship through 18 holes. It’s a position that the 30-year-old said she prefers to be in at this stage of a golf tournament – chasing a lead instead of trying to avoid losing it.
Ewart Shadoff said after the second round, “I think I much prefer to be chasing than to be leading I think. Whenever I won a tournament or been close to the lead, maybe in college or whatever, I've always preferred to come back at the end, and it just more of -- I feel more comfortable in this position that I'm at right now, so I'm kind of happy, and I'm confident in my game.”
Rolex Rankings No. 69 Wei-Ling Hsu (1, -9)
Hsu, 24, is from New Taipei City
Hsu celebrated her 24th birthday last Saturday, October 20 – she was paired with Lydia Ko during her birthday round
A 2015 LPGA rookie, Hsu has five career top-10 finishes in 102 starts with a best finish of runner-up at the season-opening 2018 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
In 2018, Hsu is having the best season of her four-year career with three top-10 finishes including two inside the top five, and the most single-season earnings in her career to date ($525,520 this season, 33rd on the Official Money List)
Hsu ranked second on Tour in putting average in 2017, climbing up from 126th on Tour in 2016 – she ranks 28th in putting average so far in 2018
Hsu was a member of Team Chinese Taipei at the 2018 UL International Crown
In 2014, Hsu had one win and three additional top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour and finished sixth in the Volvik Race for the Card money list to earn her LPGA Tour card
Rolex Rankings No. 59 Jodi Ewart Shadoff (2, -8)
Ewart Shadoff, 30, is from North Yorkshire, England and played collegiately at the University of New Mexico
Ewart Shadoff has shot even par or better in eight of her last ten rounds
Ewart Shadoff shot a career-low 10-under par 62 in the third round of the 2016 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship
A 2011 LPGA rookie, Ewart Shadoff has 16 career top-10 finishes, including two in 2018, with two runner-up results
Ewart Shadoff is a two-time member of the European Solheim Cup Team (2013, 2017) with an overall 3-4-0 record and a two-time member of Team England at the UL International Crown (2016, 2018) with an overall 5-2-1 record
Rolex Rankings No. 16 Lydia Ko (3, -7)
Ko, 21, is from Auckland, New Zealand
In 2018, Ko has eight top-10 finishes including her 15th career LPGA win at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship and a T2 at last week’s Buick LPGA Shanghai
Ko has finished no worse than T16 in each of her last six starts
Ko has a decorated career, winning the 2014 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year, 2015 Rolex Player of the Year and Money Title, 2014 & 2015 Race to the CME Globe, 2015 Vare Trophy and the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics
Ko’s 10th career LPGA victory came at the 2015 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship
Danielle Kang withdrew from the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship in the second round due to illness
Five players have won in their home country in 2018 – the United States’ Annie Park (ShopRite LPGA Classic) and Marina Alex (Cambia Portland Classic), England’s Georgia Hall (Ricoh Women’s British Open), Canada’s Brooke Henderson (CP Women’s Open) and the Republic of Korea’s In Gee Chun (KEB Hana Bank Championship)
Three players have multiple wins in 2018 - Ariya Jutanugarn (3), Sung Hyun Park (3) and Brooke Henderson (2)
There have been 23 different winners from nine different countries on the LPGA in 2018