Players to Watch
Jin Young Ko
This week in Shanghai, Jin Young Ko returns to action on the LPGA Tour for the first time since the Cambia Portland Classic in August. The two-time major champion will look to pick up where she left off. The Korean hasn’t finished outside the top 20 since mid-June. She is making her second appearance in Shanghai, where she recorded a 13th-place finish in 2018.
Nasa Hataoka arrives in Shanghai as one of the hottest players on the planet. Hataoka is coming off her second victory in her last three starts on the JLPGA, which was also her fifth consecutive top-10 finish worldwide. Hataoka makes her debut this week in Shanghai as she looks to pick up her fourth worldwide win of the year.
Following Jeongeun Lee6’s top-10 finish at the Volunteers of America Classic last week, the Korean locked up the 2019 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award with five events remaining on the season’s schedule. The 2019 U.S. Women’s Open champion will make her debut in Shanghai where she looks to record her third consecutive top-10 finish on Tour.
Danielle Kang entered the final round of the 2018 Buick LPGA Shanghai one stroke back of the lead. On that Sunday, the challenge of overcoming that small deficit was further compounded by an opening nine one-over par, 37. That’s when Kang hit the mental reset button. With the help of her caddie Ollie Brett, Kang unleashed her anxiety and frustrations by banging on her golf bag. She went on to birdie four of her last eight holes to win for the second time on the LPGA Tour. Kang won by two strokes at 13-under-par, ahead of a pack that included major champions Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn.
“I'm finally at a place where I'm peaceful and happy with my game, with my life. There is just so much more you can get through. I hope I win more; I did the best I can. I'm going to keep working hard and keep giving myself chances and keep putting myself in contention. I'll win more. I'll play better.” – Danielle Kang after winning in Shanghai
Aon Risk Reward Challenge Hole
The par 5 17th hole at Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club will present a formidable challenge for players over the closing stretch of the championship. Players will need to weigh the risk-reward opportunities off the tee as both water and several bunkers can come into play. Those willing to take a larger risk can potentially reach the green in two and take advantage of an eagle opportunity.
Numbers to Know
64 – The tournament record at the Buick LPGA Shanghai, shot by Peiyun Chien during the third round in 2018
15 – The number of China LPGA members in the field in Shanghai
4 – The number of Americans who finished inside the top 5 in Shanghai in 2018
2 – The number of strokes Danielle Kang won by in 2018
12th – The number of times Lydia Ko has finished runner-up on the LPGA Tour, most recently at the 2018 Buick LPGA Shanghai
About This Week’s Event
The Asia Swing Begins
The Buick LPGA Shanghai kicks off the Tour’s swing through Asia. It’s the first of four events that will also take the Tour to Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Fields for this week is limited to the top 62 on the LPGA Tour’s money list and also feature players from the China LPGA. No cuts will be made during these events.
Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club hosts the Buick LPGA Shanghai for the second consecutive year. The course presents a number of challenges as it has four large lakes, bunkers throughout, more than 6,000 trees and 40 feet of elevation change. It will play to a par 72 at just over 6,700 yards
October 17 – 20, 2 – 4 a.m. ET