This week of the 2019 LPGA season takes the Tour to New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei, for the ninth playing of the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA presented by CTBC. The event marks the third stop of the Tour’s Asia swing, and is the 30th official event of the LPGA season.
The Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA will host 81 of the world’s best female golfers, led by World No. 1 and newly announced Rolex Player of the Year Jin Young Ko. Ko and defending champion No. 8 Nelly Korda are two of 16 players in the top 20 of the Rolex Rankings in the field.
Other notable players in the field include 2019 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Jeongeun Lee6, 2019 AIG Women’s British Open winner Hinako Shibuno and multiple 2019 tournament winners Hannah Green, Brooke Henderson, Mi Jung Hur, Sei Young Kim and Sung Hyun Park.
The field consists of 62 LPGA Members, ranked in the order of their position on the 2019 LPGA Official Money List through the 2019 Volunteers of America Classic; 10 TLPGA Members, as determined by the TLPGA; and nine sponsor invitations.
KORDA READY TO DEFEND FIRST LPGA TITLE
One year ago, Nelly Korda’s life changed. At the 2018 Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA, Korda shot a 4-under 68 to maintain her 54-hole lead and pull clear of the field to capture her first LPGA Tour title. With big sister Jessica watching from home, it was a memorable week that kickstarted the 21-year-olds LPGA career.
Since that day, Korda has added a win at the 2019 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open along with 10 top-10 finishes including two runner-up finishes to her growing resume. This is a week of reflection for Korda, as she looks back on her maiden title and sets her sights on a successful title defense.
“Super special,” Korda said about being back at the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA. “To be honest it was a dream week. I couldn't have dreamt of a better week. I think seeing all my friends, even on the side of the green coming up 18, I got super emotional. I just told myself, "Okay, don't cry, don't cry, don't cry." It was an emotional Sunday and I was just super happy to get that first win under my belt.”
While playing at a different course than the site of her maiden LPGA victory, Korda likes her chances at the Miramar Golf Country Club where she finished T17 as a rookie in 2017.
“I like it a lot,” Korda said of the course. “It's bermudagrass, so it's kind of what I grew up on in Florida, and it's usually really windy and rainy here, so you never know. But I definitely like the setup of the golf course. I think it fits my game quite well, and we'll see how it goes.”
Korda will tee off the first round on Thursday at 10:35 a.m. with Jin Young Ko and hometown favorite Wei-Ling Hsu off the first tee.
ROLEX PLAYER OF THE YEAR KO NOT DONE YET
With three events remaining on the 2019 LPGA Tour schedule, the LPGA announced on Sunday that Jin Young Ko has earned the 2019 Rolex Player of the Year award for the first time in her career. She leads the Player of the Year standings with 241 points, 118 points over 2019 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Jeongeun Lee6, and cannot be caught.
This week at the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA, Ko said she was really thankful to have won the Rolex Player of the Year honor but that she still has goals she wants to accomplish this year.
When looking at her 2019 resume, it’s hard to believe there’s much left on the World No. 1’s list of goals.
The Republic of Korea native already secured the 2019 Rolex ANNIKA Major Award after winning the ANA Inspiration and The Evian Championship and finishing third at the AIG Women’s British Open. She has won four times with eight additional top-10 finishes, including three runner-up performances. In 20 starts in 2019, Ko has made every cut and has yet to finish outside the top 30.
On Tuesday at the Miramar Golf Country Club, Ko said that her goal for this week is the same as it has been every week: to be the happiest golfer on the course.
“First of all: enjoy,” Ko said. “Like happy, always to be happy on the golf course. And second one, like hit straight, driver, iron, everything. And then make 1- putt. I will try. I will try.”
Not to get ahead of herself, Ko also has her eyes on the CME Group Tour Championship. Specifically, she said she’d like to end her 2019 season with the $1.5 million first-place prize, the largest single payout in women’s golf history.
“Really, really good prize money, CME, so I can't lose,” Ko said. “I can't lose after this week. So I will keep trying hard more, and then I will try. I will try to win or better. Try my best.”
Ko also leads the Tour in multiple statistical categories with three events remaining. She ranks first on the Official Money List ($2,714,281), leads the Race to the CME Globe (4,148 points), is No. 1 in scoring average (68.933), tops the Tour in greens in regulation (79.7%) and has the most top-10 finishes this season (12).
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TAIWAN SWINGING SKIRTS LPGA
- This week marks the ninth playing of the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA
- The Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA is the third event in the LPGA’s fall Asia Swing, following events in the People’s Republic of China and Republic of Korea – after this week only two events remain on the LPGA schedule with a stop in Japan before the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla.
- Previously, the event was played at Sunrise Golf & Country Club from 2011-13, made one stop at the Ta Shee Golf & Country Club in 2017 and has been held at Miramar Golf and Country Club from 2014-17 and again in 2019
- The field consists of 62 LPGA Members, 10 TLPGA Members, and nine sponsor invitations
- Four past champions are in the field: Nelly Korda (2018), Eun-Hee Ji (2017), Lydia Ko (2015), Inbee Park (2014)
- There are five amateurs in the field this week playing on sponsor invitations: Yu-Sang Hou (a), Huai-Chien Hsu (a), Ho Yu An (a), Hsin-Yu Lu (a), Rose Zhang (a)
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE UPDATE
Heading into the 30th week of the 2019 Race to the GME Globe, four-time winner Jin Young Ko leads the standings with 4,148 points. Two-time 2019 winner Brooke Henderson is second with 2,772 points, followed by Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Jeongeun Lee6 with 2,652 points.
The 2019 season brings a fresh face to the Race to the CME Globe. LPGA Members will accumulate points at each official LPGA Tour event leading up to the CME Group Tour Championship. The top 60 points earners and ties will then earn a spot in the CME Group Tour Championship, with the entire field competing for the $5 million purse and the $1.5 million winner’s check, the largest single prize in the history of women’s golf.