The LPGA Tour heads to the Republic of Korea this week for the fourth playing of the BMW Ladies Championship at Seowon Hills at Seowon Valley Country Club. The 78-player field is packed with superstars, including 19 of the 22 total 2023 LPGA Tour winners, Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 1 Lilia Vu, 2021 BMW Ladies Championship winner Jin Young Ko and defending champion Lydia Ko. Players like Nelly Korda, Ruoning Yin and Hyo Joo Kim are also slated to compete this week for a $2.2 million purse as well as valuable points in the Race to the CME Globe, Rolex Player of the Year and Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings. Take a look at just a few of the featured groups at this week’s BMW Ladies Championship.
Thursday, 10:09 a.m. – Hyo Joo Kim/Jiyai Shin/Angel Yin
A pair of major champions will tee it up alongside the LPGA’s latest Rolex First-Time Winner in group 19 on Thursday at the BMW Ladies Championship. Hyo Joo Kim won The Amundi Evian Championship as a non-member in 2014 and just a few weeks ago captured her sixth career LPGA Tour title at The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America. This year marks her third consecutive winning season on the LPGA Tour, and in addition to her victory, Kim has earned five additional top-five finishes as well as three other top 10s, most notably finishing runner-up at both the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer and FREED GROUP Women’s Scottish Open presented by Trust Golf. Last year’s BMW Ladies Championship saw the 28-year-old finish in a tie for third in her native Wonju at Oak Valley Country Club, and she also competed in both the 2019 and 2021 editions of the event, finishing T38 and T30, respectively. Statistically, Kim leads the LPGA Tour in several categories this season,ranking first in scoring average (69.67), rounds under par (50) and strokes gained total (+2.29). She is second in birdies (280), second in driving accuracy (83.24%), third in greens in regulation (74.07%) and fourth in putts per green in regulation. Kim is also fourth in both strokes gained tee to green (+1.82) and strokes gained approach (+1.04), according to KPMG Performance Insights.
Two-time AIG Women’s Open champion Jiyai Shin had a shot at winning both the U.S. Women’s Open and AIG Women’s Open earlier this season, finishing in a tie for second at Pebble Beach Golf Links and finishing solo third at Walton Heath Golf Club. The 35-year-old competes primarily on the JLPGA Tour, only appearing in majors and Asian events on the LPGA for which she qualifies or is extended a sponsor invitation, and she hasn’t played a full schedule on the LPGA Tour since 2013. This is Shin’s first start in the BMW Ladies Championship since it became part of the LPGA Tour schedule in 2019, and the 11-time LPGA Tour winner will be feeding off the momentum she has generated from not only her major performances this year but also two JLPGA victories that came earlier this season. She is currently ranked 16th in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
Angel Yin finally broke through in her 159th start on the LPGA Tour on Sunday at the Buick LPGA Shanghai, defeating Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lilia Vu in a playoff to become the season’s 12th Rolex First-Time Winner. With the victory, Yin helped set a new record on the LPGA Tour for most Rolex First-Timer Winners in a single season, besting the previous mark of 11 that was initially recorded in 1995 but was tied in 2022. In addition to her win in Shanghai, the 25-year-old has captured four other top-10 finishes this year, including a solo second at The Chevron Championship in April that saw Yin fall in a playoff to Vu. According to KPMG Performance Insights, the California native ranks first in strokes gained putting (+1.32) and is 11th in strokes gained around the green (+0.35). She is also fourth in sand saves (59.04%) and currently is leading in the Aon Risk Reward Challenge with a -0.929 average to par in the season-long competition. This is her third start in the BMW Ladies Championship, and in her two previous appearances, Yin hasn’t finished better than T43.
Thursday, 10:31 a.m. – Hae Ran Ryu/Ruoning Yin/Lilia Vu
This week’s BMW Ladies Championship marks the first time that LPGA Tour rookie Hae Ran Ryu will compete in an LPGA Tour event in her home country as an LPGA Tour winner. Ryu became the 11th Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2023 season with her victory at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, blitzing Pinnacle Country Club with scores of 64-64-66 to win by three shots over Sweden’s Linnea Strom. The win extended the Republic of Korea native’s lead in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race, and she is now a whopping 244 points ahead of Grace Kim with just five events left on the 2023 LPGA Tour schedule, including this week. Statistically, the 22-year-old is third on Tour in greens in regulation (74.07%), third in eagles (9), ninth in strokes gained approach (+0.91) and 11th in rounds under par (37). Ryu has played in the BMW Ladies Championship just one other time, tying for seventh in 2021.
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Ruoning Yin didn’t have her best stuff last week in her home country at the Buick LPGA Shanghai but will look to recapture that momentum this week at the BMW Ladies Championship. The People’s Republic China native finished T41 after carding rounds of 71-70-74-69 to end her streak of consecutive third-place results that saw her finish T3 or better three times in a row at the CPKC Women’s Open, Portland Classic and Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G. However, that was just the latest stretch of golf in what’s been an impressive season for the 21-year-old. In addition to those three top-three results, Yin has earned two victories, becoming a Rolex First-Time Winner at the DIO Impant LA Open as well as only the second player ever from China to win on the LPGA Tour and then winning her first major at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She has finished in the top five two other times this season, tying for fourth at the JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro and finishing third again at the FREED GROUP Women’s Scottish Open. Statistically, Yin ranks first on the LPGA Tour in strokes gained tee to green (+2.11), second in strokes gained approach (+1.30), third in strokes gained total (+1.97) and seventh in both scoring average (70.31) and rounds under par (39). This will be her first start at the BMW Ladies Championship.
World No. 1 Lilia Vu nearly captured her fourth title of the 2023 LPGA Tour season, just falling short after losing in a playoff to Angel Yin to finish runner-up at the Buick LPGA Shanghai. Vu is another of the 12 players who have become Rolex First-Time Winners this season, taking home her first title at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February. She then went on to capture two of the year’s five major championships, winning The Chevron Championship in a playoff over Angel Yin and taking home the AIG Women’s Open title with a six-shot victory over Charley Hull at Walton Heath. This is her second time teeing it up in the BMW Ladies Championship, and she has a T3 to her credit that came in the 2022 edition of the event at Oak Valley Country Club. Along with leading the Rolex Rankings, the 26-year-old is also at the top of the Race to the CME Globe standings as well as the Rolex Player of the Year points list and has already clinched the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award. Vu is currently ranked second on the LPGA Tour in putts per green in regulation (1.74), sixth in scoring average (70.29) and eighth in strokes gained total (+1.71).
Thursday, 10:42 a.m. – Jin Young Ko/Lydia Ko/Nelly Korda
Group 25 on Thursday features two past winners of the BMW Ladies Championship, Jin Young Ko and Lydia Ko, who will compete alongside eight-time LPGA Tour winner Nelly Korda. Jin Young Ko hasn’t teed it up in LPGA Tour competition since the CPKC Women’s Open, where she lost in a playoff to Megan Khang, falling just short of her third victory of the season. The 28-year-old has captured two wins this season, successfully defending her title at the HSBC Women’s World Championship and then emerging victorious from a playoff with Minjee Lee at the Cognizant Founders Cup. In addition to her runner-up performance in Canada and her two victories, the Rolex Rankings No. 3 has earned three other top-10 results this season, tying for sixth at the Honda LPGA Thailand, tying for fifth at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Superstition Mountain and tying for ninth at The Chevron Championship. She won the BMW Ladies Championship in both 2016 and 2017, when it was only recognized as a KLPGA event, and captured another victory at the BMW Ladies Championship in 2021 when the tournament was in its second year on the LPGA Tour calendar. Ko is second in strokes gained total (+2.08), third in strokes gained approach (+1.28) and third in scoring average (70.02) so far this season and will be looking to redeem herself after withdrawing from the event last season through two rounds.
Defending champion Lydia Ko was selected as one of the eight sponsor invites that will be teeing it up this week in the Republic of Korea and will need to recreate some of the magic she found last year at Oak Valley Country Club. The 19-time LPGA Tour winner has struggled this season, only managing to find the top 10 once in her previous 17 starts ahead of the BMW Ladies Championship, tying for sixth at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February, and is currently 101st in the Race to the CME Globe, very much outside the top-60 qualification cutoff for the CME Group Tour Championship, where Ko is also the defending champion. She is making her fourth start in the BMW Ladies Championship this week, and in addition to her win, Ko finished T3 in 2021 and T21 in 2019. Despite not having her A game as of late, the 26-year-old is still ranked fourth in putting average (28.97) and 10th in both strokes gained around the green (+0.36) and putts per green in regulation (1.76).
Nelly Korda is making her first start since representing the United States at the Solheim Cup in late September and will be playing in the BMW Ladies Championship for the first time since its inception in 2019 when she ultimately finished T28. While she has yet to pick up a victory this season, the major champion has earned seven top-10 finishes, six of which came in the first seven starts of Korda’s year, with the 25-year-old most notably finishing solo second at the HSBC Women’s World Championship and solo third at The Chevron Championship. Korda ranks inside the top 10 in three strokes gained categories on the season according to KPMG Performance Insights, including strokes gained driving in which she is seventh (+0.83) as well as strokes gained total (+1.66) and strokes gained tee to green (+1.28), in both of which she is ranked ninth.
For a full list of tee times, please click here. All times are local.