LPGA TOUR MOVES TO SINGAPORE FOR WEEK FIVE OF THE 2019 SEASON
The LPGA Tour returns to Singapore this week for the 2019 HSBC Women’s World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club’s Tanjong Course. With 63 of the world’s top players teeing it up in Singapore, the field is full of world-class golfers.
Defending champion Michelle Wie, returns to competition for her second start of the 2019 season after she made her season debut at last week’s Honda LPGA Thailand, where she finished T23. Last year, Wie carded a final-round 7-under-par 65 for one of the largest come-from-behind victories after a five-shot deficit and won the tournament at -17, one stroke ahead of four players—Jenny Shin, Danielle Kang, Brooke Henderson and Nelly Korda.
This week marks Wie’s 10th appearance of the event and is joined by World No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, along with the top 15 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, including No. 4 Inbee Park making her season debut. 2019 LPGA Tour winner Eun-Hee Ji is also in this week’s star-studded field.
DEFENDING CHAMPION MICHELLE WIE PRESSES ON THROUGH INJURY
HSBC Women’s World Championship defending champion, Michelle Wie started getting back into golf form earlier this month after undergoing surgery on her right hand. Last year’s victory at Sentosa Golf Club was Wie’s fifth LPGA Tour win and she returns to Singapore with excitement and anticipation.
“I feel especially honored to be a defending champion of such a prestigious tournament. I feel extremely lucky to even be here this year, so I'm just soaking it all in and having a lot of fun, and really excited for the tournament to begin,” Wie said. “Just the feeling that I felt after last year, it was just incredible. I just felt so relieved. I knew that I had overcome a lot of stuff within the last couple of years. It felt really good.”
After suffering repercussions of a car accident that occurred two years ago, Wie suffered an avulsion fracture in her hand and extensive neck issues. The 29-year-old is taking careful precautions to work toward her 2019 goals: playing injury-free, making the Solheim Cup team and narrowing her focus in on another (major) win.
“I guess as an old person now, a veteran out on Tour, physio and recovery is key for me,” said Wie who started on the LPGA Tour as a rookie in 2009. “My life kind of revolves around it. I travel with my private physio and we have treatment every day, whether it's getting needles in, whether it's icing; I have my devices that I carry around with me. It's everything. It's eating right, drinking right. It's just a whole thing.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DEFENDING CHAMPION MICHELLE WIE
- Wie’s victory at the 2018 HSBC Women’s World Championship was her fifth LPGA Tour career- her first victory since the 2014 season where she won the U.S. Women’s Open Championship and the LOTTE Championship
- After rehabbing a hand injury, Wie is competing in her second LPGA Tour event of 2019 since the 2018 KEB Hana Bank Championship; she finished T23 at the 2019 Honda LPGA Thailand
- This year, Wie is making her 10th appearance of the HSBC Women’s World Championship
- She is a five-time member of the U.S. Solheim Cup Team (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017) with an 8-9-1 overall record
- Wie represented the United States at the 2018 UL International Crown, where she posted a 1-3-0 record
THE BEST IS YET TO COME FROM ARIYA JUTANUGARN
For World No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, the world ranking hasn’t really changed her. Instead, the 23-year-old has been working on focusing on things in her control instead of the outcome, taking each week and each shot as a learning opportunity to help her work towards finding her best form.
“I feel like [the ranking] hasn’t changed me much. The only thing changed is my ranking, really, like No. 2 and No. 1. Nothing much changed,” said Jutanugarn who returned to the No. 1 spot last October 29, 2018. “I still have to work on the same stuff. I still have to focus on the same stuff. You know, because I didn't feel like last year was playing my best year, because I always felt like 2016 was my best year.”
In 2016, Jutanugarn won five of her 10 LPGA Tour titles including a major victory at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Though Jutanugarn has occupied the No. 1 spot in the world and swept every major award on the LPGA Tour in 2018 including Rolex Player of the Year and three wins, she revealed on Tuesday that her best year has yet to come.
“Every time when I play with someone and they have an amazing shot, I feel like if it were me, I couldn't do that. So I want to learn that. And especially when I watch the guys play, I feel like we have so much room to improve. When I watch Kiradech, I'm like, ‘can you teach me everything because I still think I can get a lot better.”
Jutanugarn will tee off at 10:20 a.m. with No. 3 Sung Hyun Park and No. 7 Minjee Lee for the first round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship.
GEORGIA HALL TAKES IN THE SIGHTS OF SINGAPORE
Second-year LPGA Tour player Georgia Hall is making the most of her second visit to Singapore, visiting the Singapore Zoo and making plans to dine at the iconic Marina Bay Sands later this week.
“A few of us went to visit at orangutan’s and have breakfast with them. So that was pretty cool. There's a couple of baby ones and they are sweet. They were just eating their breakfast with us and they are really cute,” said the 22-year-old from England.
Hall became a Rolex First-Time Winner with her win at last year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open, where she was the first English player to win a major since Karen Stupples won in 2004. Though the title still hasn’t phased the No. 10 golfer in the world, Hall reminds herself of the major victory for quick surges of confidence on the course.
“I think I'm still slightly the same person and the way I think. But if I am playing bad on a hole or I'm struggling, I do say to myself, ‘Georgia, you won the British Open, and you've done that,’ which means I can kind of make two birdies now.”
Hall is making her second HSBC Women’s World Championship appearance this week— in 2018, she finished T48 where she shot 73-76-70-69.
Tournament: @HSBC_Sport; #HWWC, @hsbcwomensgolf (Instagram); #passionmadepossible
LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)
TV TIMES (all times Eastern)
Wednesday, Feb. 27 to Thursday, Feb. 28 – 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Golf Channel
Thursday, Feb. 28 to Friday, Mar. 1 – 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Golf Channel
Friday, Mar. 1 to Saturday, Mar. 2 – 11:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Golf Channel
Saturday, Mar. 2 to Sunday, Mar. 3 – 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Golf Channel