One year ago, Nanna Koerstz Madsen saw her lifelong dream of winning on the LPGA Tour come true with a clutch 10-footer for eagle on the second playoff hole to capture the Honda LPGA Thailand. Twelve months later, the Dane returns to Siam Country Club to see another dream realized. For the first time in her career, she'll seek to defend a title on tour.
Koerstz Madsen is one in a long list of elite champions to have won in Thailand, where earning the illustrious title of ‘champion’ has seemingly gone hand-in-hand with nail biting, final-round drama, just as Koerstz Madsen experienced by going toe to toe with Xi Yu Lin in extra holes.
In 2021, Ariya Jutanugarn and Atthaya Thitikul dueled for the honor of becoming the first Thai champion of the tournament. On the final day, Jutanugarn edged out the teenager with a final round 63 for a one-stroke victory.
In 2019, Korea’s Amy Yang won in Thailand for the third time, skirting past Minjee Lee by a single shot thanks to Yang’s string of five consecutive birdies on the final day.
In 2018, Americans Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson battled over the closing day when Thompson carded a 64 to try to catch Korda, who went wire-to-wire for the first time since returning from extensive jaw surgery. That week, Korda set a new tournament scoring record that wouldn’t be eclipsed until Koerstz Madsen won in 2022.
Koerstz Madsen headlines an impressive field for the second event of the 2023 LPGA Tour season. Lydia Ko, current world No. 1, begins her LPGA Tour campaign in Thailand on the heels of yet another win, as she kicked off her year with a victory last week on the Ladies European Tour. Ko’s win is her third in her last four worldwide starts including a victory at the LPGA’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship to earn both Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy for 2022.
Major champions Minjee Lee, Jin Young Ko, and In Gee Chun are also poised to make their season debuts in Thailand. And Thitikul, the reigning Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year, is slated to make her first start of the year.
Also in the field is Brooke Henderson, the first winner of the 2023 LPGA Tour season who took the title at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. She finished T4 in Thailand last year. Nelly Korda is making a rare return to Thailand, where she last teed it up in 2019 and finished seventh.
Four rookies will get a valuable opportunity to compete in the limited-field, 72-hole, no-cut event with Thailand’s Jaravee Boonchant, Natthakrita Vongtaveelap, Chanettee Wannasaen, and Arpichaya Yubol each receiving a sponsor exemption. There are nearly a dozen players from Thailand who are in the field and, come Thursday, they all will be chasing the dream of getting a win in their native land.
Dreams certainly can come true at the Honda LPGA Thailand, just look at what Koertz Madsen, Jutanugarn, Yang, and Korda have achieved. But joining the prestigious list of champions to win at Siam Country Club usually comes with a little drama, too.