This week the LPGA moves to Singapore for the playing of the HSBC World Championship. Last year this tournament produced one of the most exciting finishes of the entire year. Michelle Wie’s birdie on the 72nd and final hole gave her a one-stroke victory over Brooke Henderson, Nelly Korda, Jenny Shin, and Danielle Kang. Jin Young Ko and Minjee Lee finished just two shots back.
The HSBC World Championship is tournament #5 of 33 on the this year’s LPGA schedule.
Here are the key details:
Course: Sentosa Golf Club, The Tanjong Course
Defending Champion: Michelle Wie
Winning Score: 67-73-66-65 = 271 (-17)
History: This tournament started in 2008
Final Field: 63 Players
Par: 36/36 = 72
Race to the CME Globe: 500 points
Aon Risk Reward Challenge Hole: #13
My strength of field rating is a very solid 76% (exactly the same as last year). This is an extremely strong field. The reason the field rating isn’t higher is that this is a very small field (just 63 players) and loses points because of lack of depth. Forty-six of the top 50 players on the LPGA Priority List and thirty-nine of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. In fact, the entire top 15 players from the Rolex Rankings will be there.
Top players not in attendance this week include Jessica Korda (injury), I.K. Kim, and Brittany Lincicome. Players that didn’t get into the field because of it being so small include Katherine Kirk, Jane Park, and Haru Nomura.
Here are the Television Times: (12-hour time differential between the East Coast and Singapore)
Wednesday, Feb 27 – GC 10:30 PM – 22:30AM ET
Thursday, Feb 28 – GC 10:30 PM – 2:30AM ET
Friday, March 1 – GC 11:30 PM – 2:30AM ET
Saturday, March 2 – GC 10:30 PM – 2:30AM ET
Players Most Likely to Win: (Top players in the field)
1- Ariya Jutanugarn – Her number one ranking could be in jeopardy.
2- Sung Hyun Park – Only her second start of the season.
3- Minjee Lee – Hasn’t won often, but contends every week.
Players to Watch Out For: (I’m feeling it this week)
1- Brooke Henderson- Healthy again and looking for win number eight.
2- Nasa Hataoka – Should bounce back from poor showing in Thailand.
3- Nelly Korda – Hottest player on tour right now.
Longshot Picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
1- Angel Yin – Will get that first win this year.
2- Lydia Ko – Needs a good showing here or she can fall out of the top 20.
3- Michelle Wie – Defending champion could surprise.
Gerina Piller returns from maternity leave and is in this week’s field.Muni He received her first paycheck as an LPGA member this past week in Thailand. Unfortunately for her, they are “unofficial earnings” and will not help her in retaining her playing privileges for next year. The same case applies to her this week in Singapore. If a player is a sponsor invitee on foreign soil with no cut, all earnings are unofficial.
Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Minjee Lee makes the most important move this week leaping from #7 to #3. Nelly Korda moves up to #8, and Brooke Henderson re-enters the top ten at #9. The other big moves came outside the top ten as Amy Yang moves up three spots to #13, and Jenny Shin jumps from #68 to #49.
Race to the CME Globe: (Top 60 point earners to compete for $1.5 million first place prize).
Nelly Korda extends her lead with 780 points. She is followed by Eun-Hee Ji with 610 and Amy Yang with 576.
Aon Risk Reward Challenge: (1 million dollars)
Jaye Marie Green and Maria Torres continue to lead with a score of -1.50. There are six players tied for 3rd place at -1.25.
Nelly Korda is the only LPGA player with three top ten finishes.
Charley Hull has failed to register a top twenty finish in any of her three starts this year.