TIGER OF THE LPGA TOUR CREDITS TIGER WOODS FOR HER WIN
Sung Hyun Park is known by many nicknames including Namdalla (“I’m different”), Dak Gong (“Shut up and attack”), one of them being “Tiger” for her prowess on the golf course and named after her golf hero, Tiger Woods. The 25-year-old South Korean golf sensation was surprised in early February on set at a TaylorMade brand shoot when she had the chance to meet Woods.
During her winner’s press conference at Sentosa Golf Club, Park had a message to share with Woods— “if Tiger is watching this interview, then I would want to say that because we met, you gave me such a good energy, that made me win this tournament.”
After running out of steam on the back half of her second and third rounds, Park’s mother Keumja Lee kept checking in with her daughter, “What’s going on with your energy levels, are you tired?” Only for Park to respond back confidently, “I still have one more day and just wait.” She told the media, “Even though I hit over par on the back nine in the second and third round, I still had the confidence that I could play better on the last day.”
Park started the final round four strokes behind leader Ariya Jutanugarn and made a charge for the top, shooting the week’s low round of 8-under-par on Sunday while Jutanugarn finished T8 after a disappointing 3-over-par final round.
“The secret, I would say, is that I just tried to focus shot-by-shot today, and because of the hot weather, I was holding my umbrella really close,” said Park of the high temperatures and humidity at Sentosa. “I was holding it really low so I could only look at the ground and the sweat dripping off my face—that narrowed by focus.”
MINJEE LEE'S TITLE BID TURNS AT THE DRIVEABLE PAR-FOUR 14TH
One errant drive effectively ended Minjee Lee's title bid at the HSBC Women’s World Championship on Sunday after she had been tied for the lead with Sung Hyun Park at 14-under with just five holes to play. The par-four 14th had been set up as a driveable 282-yard hole for the final round and Lee, after initially thinking she had hit it well, watched as her ball ended up in the tongue of a fairway bunker from where she hit two poor chip shots en route to a bogey five.
"I thought I hit a good drive on 14, I just over-drew it a little bit and the wind was left-to-right," Lee said after finishing runner-up for a second consecutive week on the LPGA Tour. "It just ended up catching the bunker and went into the tongue in the rough. I thought I hit a pretty good chip shot but probably just a little bit short because if you go over, it's going to be down the swale. I was just thinking about that, but I feel like I didn't hit such a bad chip shot. Just came out a little bit short and then I decided to chip it again, which I didn't really hit a good chip shot. So that hole was pretty much the killer."
Overall, though, Rolex Rankings No.3 Lee has every reason to be in good spirits after playing excellent golf over the past fortnight, initially at the Honda LPGA Thailand and then this week in Singapore.
"I've been playing well and today I turned at 3-under, probably missed a couple opportunities at the beginning of the front nine," she said after closing with a three-under 69. "I just didn't give myself too many opportunities for birdie, and made a bad mistake on that one drive. But I feel like I've had a really good two weeks, and hopefully it just sets me up for the year."
GRANDSTAND SEAT FOR EUN-HEE JI
Eun-Hee Ji had the best seat in the house on Sunday to watch Sung Hyun Park's stunning run to her sixth LPGA Tour victory since she was grouped with her fellow South Korean in the final round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship. While Ji carded a two-under 70 to finish alone in seventh place, Park played brilliant golf to sign off with an eight-under 64, the best score of the week by two shots.
"This is the best round she has ever played with me in competition," said Ji, a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour. "She hit it really well today. She hit her shots pretty close to the pin, and she made everything pretty much on the greens. I feel badly for Minjee (who placed second). But Sung Hyun was playing really good, so that happens all the time."
Ji, who won the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Orlando, was happy enough with her own week in Singapore. "The course is really nice out here, and I just keep trying to make fairway and greens as possible," she said. "The greens firm here, so it was really hard to hold them and I always have to think about how much roll I have. That's all, I'm just trying hard."
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Sung Hyun Park (1, -15)
- Park made her third HSBC Women’s World Championship appearance; previous to her win, her best finish was in 2017 with a second-place finish
- This week, Park made her second LPGA Tour start of 2019 —her previous finish was T21 at the Honda LPGA Thailand
- Park made nine birdies and a bogey, hitting 12 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens
- Park is a six-time LPGA Tour winner, two of which are majors (2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and 2017 U.S. Women’s Open)
- Tied with So Yeon Ryu for 2017 Rolex Player of the Year honors and clinched the 2017 Louise Suggs Rolex Player of the Year Award with five events remaining on the schedule
Rolex Rankings No. 3 Minjee Lee (2, -13)
- Lee jumped four spots on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings to No. 3 after last week’s runner-up finish at the Honda LPGA Thailand
- Lee made four birdies and one bogey in the final round, hitting eight of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens
- Lee made her fifth HSBC Women’s World Championship appearance; her second-place finish was her est finish at this event
- Lee made her fourth start of the 2019 season; she missed the cut at the ISPS Handa Vic Open and finished T15 at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and had a runner-up finish at the Honda LPGA Thailand
- Lee is a four-time winner on the LPGA Tour; her last win was the 2018 LPGA Volvik Championship
Rolex Rankings No. 11 Jin Young Ko (T3, -11)
- Ko made her second HSBC Women’s World Championship appearance; her previous finish was T6 in 2018
- This week, Ko made her third start of the 2019 LPGA Tour season – her previous finishes were second at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and T29 at the Honda LPGA Thailand
- Ko made five birdies and two bogeys in the final round, carding a 3-under-par 69, hitting 12 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens
- Ko is a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour (2017 LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship as a non-member and the 2018 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open); she became a Rolex First-Time Winner in 2018 and joined Beverly Hanson as the only players in LPGA history to win in their debut as Tour Members
- Ko earned LPGA Membership by virtue of her win at the 2017 LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship
Rolex Rankings No. 50 Azahara Munoz (T3, -11)
- Munoz made her eighth HSBC Women’s World Championship appearance; her best finish was in 2014 with a runner-up finish, she lost to Paula Creamer who made an eagle on the second extra hole
- This week, Munoz made her fourth start of the 2019 LPGA Tour season – her previous finishes were T5 at the ISPS Handa Vic Open, T6 at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and T54 at the Honda LPGA Thailand
- Munoz carded a final-round 3-under-par 69, hitting 13 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens
- Munoz became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2012 Sybase Match Play Championship
- Munoz represented Spain in the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing T21
- 22 players in the top 20 represent 10 different countries (Republic of Korea, Australia, Spain, USA, England, Thailand, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Japan)
- Lexi Thompson hit a hole-in-one during the final round on Hole No. 7 from 188 yards with her 7-iron
CME GROUP CARES CHALLENGE – SCORE 1 FOR ST. JUDE
The CME Group Cares Challenge is a season-long charitable giving program that turns aces into donations. CME Group will donate $20,000 for each hole-in-one made on the LPGA Tour in 2019, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $500,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Lexi Thompson had an ace this week at the 2019 HSBC Women’s World Championship on Hole No 7 from 188 yards with her 7-iron. There have been three made prior to the week and a total to $80,000 has been donated thus far in 2019.
LEADERS TOP 10 COMPETITIONThe LEADERS Top 10 competition awards a $100,000 bonus to the LPGA player with the most top-10 finishes through the completion of the event held immediately prior to the CME Group Tour Championship. In the event of a tie in total top-10 finishes, the award will go to the player with the most official wins, followed by most second-place finishes, third-place finishes, etc., until the tie is broken.
Through the first five events of the LPGA season, Nelly Korda is leading the competition with five top-10 finishes and in second, Eun-Hee Ji, Azahara Munoz and Jodi Ewart Shadoff with four top-10s each.