The annual trip to Asia ushers in the second stage of the 2022 LPGA Tour season.
The Tour’s Asia swing comes on the heels of its three-week kick-off in Florida. Starting on March 3, the Tour will make its first stop in Singapore for the HSBC Women’s World Championship. The following week, the Tour heads to Thailand for the Honda LPGA Thailand.
And each event features its own storied history.
For more than a decade, the HSBC Women’s World Championship has been a fixture on the LPGA Tour schedule. Since 2008, the event has been played every single year, except for 2020 when the event was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The winners in Singapore feature the who's who in the women’s game, dating back to the inaugural year when Lorena Ochoa won by an impressive 11 strokes over Annika Sorenstam. Both would go on to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Other big-name champions include former Rolex Ranking No.1 Jiyai Shin (2009), Hall of Famer Karrie Webb (2011), two-time champion Inbee Park (2015, 2017) and Michelle Wie (2018). But come tournament week, all eyes will be on the most recent winner, Hyo Joo Kim, who in 2021 edged out the field by a single shot with a final round 64 to capture her fourth career win on the LPGA Tour.
After a champion is crowned following 72 holes in Singapore, the Tour will head to Thailand. The Tour’s visit to Thailand has been a constant on the schedule since 2006, except for like Singapore, which was not played in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The winners in Thailand have featured some of the biggest names in the game. Former world No.1 Yani Tseng remains the only back-to-back winner with victories in both 2011 and 2012. Amy Yang has found success three times in Thailand, winning every other year since 2015. And the remarkable list of champions includes the likes of Lexi Thompson (2016) and Jessica Korda (2018). But, perhaps the most noteworthy of all champions of the Honda LPGA Thailand was the country’s own Ariya Jutanugarn, who will return in March as defending champion.
While the Tour’s swing through Asia marks the second stage of the season, for many players it's just the beginning. Several of the world’s top players opted to skip the Tour’s Florida kick-off. For some players it was an opportunity to further extend their off-season. For others who returned home to Asia during the break, the decision to skip the Florida events was a logistical one, in which making the trip to the United States only to fly back to Asia wasn’t practical. Instead, they’ll begin their season closer to home in Singapore or Thailand.
At the HSBC Women’s World Championship, top ranked Jin Young Ko makes her first start of the season, along with defending champion Hyo Joo Kim. Korea’s Sei Young Kim and Sung Hyun Park will make their season debuts along with Australia’s Hannah Green and Minjee Lee. Green is coming off of back-to-back victories in her home country. Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, a rookie on the LPGA Tour in 2022, will also make her first start as a member. And the first three winners in Florida, Danielle Kang, Lydia Ko and Leona Maguire are also in the field.
For some players, this trip to Asia is a continuation of what has already been a fantastic start. For others, the Asia swing is a chance to discover, for the first time this year, the potential of a new year on the LPGA Tour.