After a long four-week break, the LPGA Tour will return to the spotlight for the 16th installment of the Honda LPGA Thailand. The event has attracted a star-studded field this year, promising excitement for all.
First Look at the Best in the World
After rightfully skipping out on the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions for her honeymoon, World No. 1 Lydia Ko will be making her first start on the LPGA Tour. After a show-stopping 2022 that saw three wins, a Rolex Player of the Year award and a Vare Trophy, Ko will be the player to beat at the Siam Country Club. With her win on the Ladies European Tour last week, Ko has won three of her last four world-wide starts and has proven she’s picked up right where she left off in 2022.
More from the Rolex Top 10
Joining Ko are eight other members of the Rolex Rankings top 10 – the only one skipping the tournament is No. 6 Lexi Thompson. No. 3 Minjee Lee, No. 4 Atthaya Thitikul, No. 5 Jin Young Ko and No. 8 In Gee Chun are also making their first LPGA Tour appearances of the season in Thailand. Lee narrowly missed taking home Rolex Player of the Year last season though she turned in a spectacular year that saw two wins, including the U.S. Women’s Open presented by Promedica. Atthaya Thitikul is the reigning Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year after also managing a two-win season in 2022. Thitikul made her LPGA Tour debut at the 2017 edition of the event where she finished T34 at a 14-year-old.
Looking for a Win at Home
Thitikul is one of nearly a dozen Thai players in the field looking for a win on their own turf. There has only been one Thai winner in the tournament’s history, Ariya Jutanugarn who captured a 1-stroke victory over Thitikul in 2021. Thai rookies Jaravee Boonchant, Natthakrita Vongtaveelap, Chanettee Wannasaen, and Arpichaya Yubol received a valuable sponsorship invite to the event and will make their LPGA Tour debuts with a little bit of homefield advantage.
First-Time Defending Champ
After four seasons on tour, Nanna Koerstz Madsen found her first win in Thailand last year after edging out Xiyu Lin with a 10-foot putt for eagle on the second playoff hole. With the win, she became the first person from Denmark to take home a title on the LPGA Tour. Though her name was already cemented in the history books, Madsen went ahead and set the tournament 54-hole (21-under par) and 72-hole scoring records (26-under par) anyway. For the first time in her career, Madsen will be playing to defend a title instead of capturing it.
This year the Honda LPGA Thailand has even attracted some irregular visitors. Nelly Korda, who hasn’t played in the event since 2019, will return to the Siam Country Club this weekend. In her last appearance, Korda shot 14-under par to take solo-seventh place.
Stacy Lewis will also be making a rare trip outside the United States to play in Thailand. Though Lewis has been limiting her overseas travel since the birth of her daughter, the 2023 and 2024 U.S. Solheim Cup captain decided to play in Asia to give herself some breathing room later in the season when her Solheim Cup responsibilities begin in earnest.