The tour moves to South Korea this week for the playing of the LPGA Hana Bank Championship. It is stop number two on the current four-stop Asian swing. Stops in Taiwan and Japan will follow.
This is tournament 23 of 27 this year. Here are the key details:
Course: Sky 72 Golf Club Ocean Course
Where: Incheon, South Korea
Defending Champion: Yani Tseng
Winning Score: 65-70-67 = 202 (-14)
Final Field: 69 players
Yardage: 6,364 yards
Here are the first-round pairings.
My strength of field rating is 64% which is a pretty strong field. It will include many KLPGA stars who usually don't tee it up in LPGA events but are highly ranked in the Rolex Rankings. On the other hand, many LPGA stars have chosen to skip the event this week. Those not competing this week include Paula Creamer, Karrie Webb, Mika Miyazato, Sophie Gustafson, Momoko Ueda, Candie Kung, and Natalie Gulbis. Some other players that are playing very well, including Sydnee Michaels and Lizette Salas, didn't get into this limited field. This is a 54-hole event.
Here are the television times:
Oct 19 - GC 7:30 PM-9:30 PM EST
Oct 20 - GC 7:30 PM-9:30 PM EST
Oct 21 - GC 7:30 PM-9:30 PM EST
Once again, because of the 12-hour time difference, this will be shown on tape delay. At least it is being broadcast a few hours earlier this week.
Inbee Park has now finished in the top ten in 10 consecutive tournaments.
It is no surprise that So Yeon Ryu and Lexi Thompson are the top two rookies this season. They were established winners and huge stars before their rookie season even started. So much attention has been given to them, that two other fine rookie seasons are almost going unnoticed. Lizette Salas, who got her card by earning it at qualifying school, had her best finish this week when she tied for 9th at the Sime Darby Championship. She has five top-25 finishes this year. Sydnee Michaels, who finished 19th this week, now has eight top-30 finishes this year and five top-25 finishes in her last 7 starts. Sydnee was Rookie of the Year last year on the Symetra Tour. These two ladies are both true rookies and should be recognized for the excellent season that they are having.
Lizette Salas, Momoko Ueda, and Mina Harigae are the latest to qualify.
Rolex Movers of the week:
Paula Creamer moves from #13 to #11 and Karrie Webb moves from #19 to #15.
Who is hot:
Paula Creamer has finished 2nd, 3rd, and 6th in her last 3 tournaments.
Neither Michelle Wie nor Sophie Gustafson have a top-ten finish this year.