More than three months since she last struck a ball in competition, Hyo Joo Kim has returned to the New Tanjong Course at Singapore’s Sentosa Country Club to defend her HSBC Women’s World Championship title. Kim last teed it up at the CME Group Tour Championship in November 2021, giving a three-month offseason to enjoy time home in her native South Korea.
“I've been exercising and trying to relax a little bit so I'm not getting nervous for my first event,” said Kim. “So yeah, I think I'm getting ready to play this event.”
In 2021, Kim started the fourth round at Sentosa five strokes off the lead. With no expectations of a great round, she unleashed a bogey-free 64 and vaulted to the clubhouse lead with three groups playing ahead of her. Kim sat in the clubhouse, eating lunch and trying to stay loose with friends, watching on TV as Hannah Green grabbed a one-stroke lead through 16 holes. “I was so hungry at the time, and I'm just thinking to eat something, so I'm not feeling hungry anymore and getting ready in case of playoff,” said Kim with a laugh. “Then that makes me less nervous.”
Green ultimately stumbled down the stretch, carding three-putt bogeys on the closing two holes to fall one stroke shy of the win. With the victory, Kim hoisted a trophy for the first time since the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic in January 2016, a span of nearly 5½ years. And almost a year later, Kim is still riding high off that illusive victory adrenaline.
“I feel no confidence before last year but after I won the event last year, I feel I get my confidence back,” said Kim. “I was so happy to return back to this golf course. I'm feeling very well come here in Singapore.”