Firstly, congratulations go out to non-LPGA member Jin Young Ko for winning the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship. She entered the final round with a 2 stroke lead but lost it very quickly when she bogeyed the 2nd and 3rd holes. She then gathered herself and played the last 15 holes in 6 under par (6 birdies and 0 bogeys) to win by 2 strokes over runner-up Sung Hyun Park. Ko is now eligible to receive a 2018 full-time LPGA playing card if that is where she wants to play next year.
This week the LPGA moves to Taiwan for the playing of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship (formerly the Fubon Taiwan LPGA Championship). Many of my readers may remember last year’s exciting finish when Ha Na Jang held off a charging Shanshan Feng and came out on top by a single stroke. Jang had built up a 6 stroke lead but was unable to make a single birdie the final 12 holes. Meanwhile, Feng made 5 birdies on the back nine but fell one stroke short.
This will be tournament #29 of 33 on this year’s LPGA schedule. It is also tournament #3 of five on the current Asian swing.
Course: Miramar Golf Country Club, Taipei, Taiwan
Defending Champion: Ha Na Jang. Winning Score: 69-69-62-71 = 271 (-17)
Final Field: 81 players
Par: 36/36 = 72
Strength of Field:
My strength of field rating is 65% (up from 60% last year). Thirty-seven of the top 50 players from the LPGA priority list (not used on the Asian swing) and 33 of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. Top players skipping the event this week include Lexi Thompson, Anna Nordqvist, In Gee Chun, Gerina Piller, Suzann Pettersen, and Jessica Korda.
Here are the television times:
GC Thurs. Oct 19, 12:30 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. ET (Tape delay)
GC Friday Oct 20, 12:30 p.m.- 2:30 p.m. ET (Tape delay)
GC Sat. Oct 21, 12:30 p.m.- 2:30 p.m. ET (Tape delay)
GC Sun. Oct 22, 12:00 p.m.- 2:30 p.m. ET (Tape Delay)
Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
1- So Yeon Ryu – Barely holding on to her #1 ranking
2- Sung Hyun Park – A victory should get her to the top spot
Players to watch out for: (I’m feeling it this week)
1- Shanshan Feng – You know she wants to win this one
2- Brooke Henderson – Because she seems to be in contention every week now
3- Minjee Lee – Has 7 top-five finishes this year, but has not won
Longshot picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
1- Yani Tseng – Has won here before
2- Marina Alex – Has come close on several occasions this year
Groups and Tee Times for the First Round
Sung Hyun Park becomes the first LPGA member to cross the 2 million dollar mark in earnings this year.
Brooke Henderson’s 8th place finish this week was her 19th top 25 finish of the year. That ranks her second on the LPGA tour (Moriya Jutanugarn has 20).
Rolex World Golf Rankings Movers of the Week:
In Gee Chun makes the most important move this week, jumping up 3 spots to #4. Non-LPGA member (maybe not for long) Jin Young Ko leaps up from #33 to #21. Marina Alex (53 to 47) and Angel Yin (61 to 55) both jump up 6 spots.
Race to the CME Globe: (1 million dollars)
Lexi Thompson continues to lead with 3,266 points. She is followed by Sung Hyun Park with 2,919 and So Yeon Ryu with 2,776. Brooke Henderson with 2,631 is in 4th place. In Gee Chun’s 2,475 points round out the top five.
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.