Best to take field in Korea in in­au­gu­ral LPGA event

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

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.

Ko Jin-young

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