This week (after an unexpected week off) the LPGA moves to South Korea and begins its Asian swing with the playing of the KEB Hana Bank Championship.
In 2016, Carlota Ciganda came from five-strokes back from 54-hole leader Alison Lee and defeated her in a playoff with a birdie on the first extra hole to capture her first victory on the LPGA Tour.
This is the first of 5 tournaments on the current “Asian Swing”. It is also the start of a six week stretch (without a break) where the season will conclude with the playing of the CME Group Tour Championship. This will be tournament #28 of 33 on the 2017 LPGA schedule.
KEY DETAILS OF THE KEB HANA CHAMPIONSHIP
Course: Sky 72 Golf Club Ocean Course
Location: Incheon, South Korea
Defending Champion: Carlota Ciganda
Winning Score: 69-70-69-69 = 278 (-10)
Final Field: 78 players
Par: 36/36 = 72
My strength of field rating is a very solid 75.5% (up slightly from 75% last year). Forty-two of the top 50 players on the LPGA Priority List (not used for this event) and 40 of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up this week. Players not in this week’s field include Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lang, and Jodi Ewart Shadoff. Although this being a limited field event lowers my field rating (lack of depth), there are some highly ranked players from other tours which brings my rating back up. They include:
Hye Jin Choi (#18 in Rolex Rankings)
Ha Na Jang (#19)
Jeongeun Lee (#23)
Jin Young Ko (#33)
Hae Rym Kim (#36)
Seon Woo Bae (#49)
Ji Hyun Kim (#51)
Ji Hyun Oh (#56)
Min-Sun Kim (#65)
Ji-Hyun Kim (72)
Ji Young Kim (#77)
Min-Ji Park (96)
GC October 12 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET (Tape)
GC October 13 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET (Tape)
GC October 14 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM ET (Tape)
GC October 15 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM ET (Tape)
There is a 13 hour time difference between ET and Incheon.
Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
So Yeon Ryu – #1 and feeling the pressure of staying there
Sung Hyun Park – In my opinion, the favorite this week
Lexi Thompson – Has her eye on taking over the top position
Players to watch out for: (I’m feeling it this week)
Brooke Henderson – Because she is playing as well as anyone now
I.K. Kim – Can she win for the 4th time this year?
In Gee Chun – Has played well here, but has come up empty
Longshot picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
Hye Jin Choi – Maybe not such a longshot
Jeongeun Lee – You may not know her, but you will soon enough
Jeon Eun Lee – Couldn’t resist
The ten Symetra Tour players who earned their 2018 full-time LPGA playing privileges are:
1- Benyapa Niphatsophon
2- Hannah Green
3- Celine Boutier
4- Nanna Koerstz Madsen
5- Yu Liu
6- Eyrnne Lee
7- Lyndsey Weaver
8- Anne-Catherine Tanguay
9- Emma Talley
10- **Katelyn Dambaugh
** Will be the first left-handed LPGA player in quite some time.
Tony Jesselli is the author of the very popular blog TONY’S LPGA REPORT, which has been covering tour and player news since 2010. Every week Tony reports on the latest news and results from women’s professional golf around the world and previews upcoming tournaments with player news, the strength of field ratings, and TV times. It has earned the reputation as the ‘go-to’ resource for up to date and accurate news about the LPGA.