Best to take field in Korea in inaugural LPGA event
Some of the very best in women’s golf will bring their talent to South Korea for an inaugural LPGA Tour event this week.
The BMW Ladies Championship will start Thursday at the LPGA International Busan in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul. The $2 million tournament will have an 84-player field with no cuts, and the winner will take home $300,000.
The BMW Ladies Championship replaces the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship as the lone LPGA tournament on Korean soil during the tour’s annual Asian Swing.
Headlining the star-studded field is South Korea’s own Ko Jin-young, the world No. 1 in the midst of an outstanding season.
Ko leads the LPGA Tour in money, scoring average and the Player of the Year points. She has won four titles, including two majors, to lead all players, too.
Ko, one of 52 LPGA players this week, has been staying at home this month, and even won a Korea LPGA (KLPGA) major, Hite Jinro Championship, earlier in October.
Ko is one of six multiple champions this season, and four others — Kim Sei-young and Hur Mi-jung of South Korea, Brooke Henderson of Canada and Hannah Green of Australia — will be at the BMW Ladies Championship.
LPGA rookie sensation Lee Jeongeun will also tee off in Busan. On the strength of her U.S. Women’s Open title, Lee clinched the Rookie of the Year Award on Oct. 10, with five tournaments still to go in 2019.
South Korean players have combined to win 13 of 28 tournaments this season. The single season record for most titles by the South Korean contingent is 15, set in 2015 and matched in 2017.
There will be three tournaments remaining in 2019 after this week.
Other fan favorites in action will be Minjee Lee of Australia and Lydia Ko of New Zealand, both of Korean descent.
The field of 32 KLPGA stars features Choi Hye-jin, who has won four times this year and leads the domestic tour in money, scoring average and the Player of the Year points. Jang Ha-na, who captured four LPGA titles before moving back home, will chase her first LPGA win since February 2017.
A non-LPGA member who wins the BMW Ladies Championship will become eligible for full-time LPGA playing privileges for next year. Ko Jin-young won the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in 2017 to earn her tour card and hasn’t looked back since.