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HSBC Women's Champions

Round 4 - Ha Na Jang wins HSBC Women’s Champions

March 06, 2016

Ha Na Jang saved her best for last. The 23-year old from South Korea shot a tournament-low 7-under 65 on Sunday and eagled the 72nd hole to claim her second career LPGA title at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. Jang, who held the solo 54-hole lead, finished at 19-under par and four shots ahead of Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum.

“It’s amazing right now, because last, eagle, is very fun, very enjoy, exciting in my mind,” said Jang. “It’s very comfortable today but it’s really, really happy this year because two wins right now, very happy.”

It’s her second victory in just her last four starts. She won her first title - the Coates Golf Championship Presented by R+L Carriers- last month in Ocala, Fla. After recording four runner-ups in her rookie year last season, Jang said her goal in 2016 was to get two wins. She now realizes she’ll have to reevaluate her goals.

“Target in 2016 is two wins, but right now, I’m there, so going to change my target from two more wins, so very comfortable right now,” said Jang.

Jang’s eccentric personality has been on showcase so far this year and has put on some memorable celebrations in big moments. In the season-opening event in the Bahamas, Jang had the first-ever albatross on a par 4 in LPGA history and took a traditional bow to the ground and kissed the green as she approached the hole. A week later in her maiden win, she celebrated with a Samurai inspired rendition with her putter on the 18th green. This week’s featured a dance inspired by Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance.

“I’m watching the TV and really good music with Beyonce, and watching Beyonce, she’s really nice,” said Jang. “I try, I think about, like I’m trying to dance after my putt, it’s really good today. Yeah, single ladies. I’m single right now, too. (Laughter).”

Jang started the day with a one-shot lead over Phatlum and went out in 33 to extend the lead to three shots through nine holes. Her first bogey in 50 holes – going back to No. 14 in Thursday’s first round – cut the lead to two.

“No. 10 is like just a little more -- too much thinking...Then I try more birdie, birdie, but I don’t think -- after No. 11, just be patient, just be patient, it’s okay,” said Jang.

But three straight birdies on Nos. 12-14 gave Jang control and a four-shot lead with four holes to play. It was her putter that made the difference, sinking a 30-footer on the 13th and 50-foot bomb on No. 14. She said a little bit of extra practice yesterday on the greens seemed to make a difference.

“I think it’s first round and then third round, is really big miss every hole the putt. But a little more practicing after yesterday’s round and trying to compare to impact and feeling,” said Jang.

She walked to the 18th tee with a three-shot lead after Phatlum birdied the 16th and said it wasn’t exactly in her game plan to go for eagle. Jang initially didn’t want to admit she was just trying to get on the green. Her approach on the par 5 went more left than she originally wanted but her 3-wood from 194 yards did not steer her wrong. Her ball hit the front side of the green and rolled to six feet left of the hole.

“No. 18 on the second shot, I just try right side of bunker my target, was a little bit miss,” said Jang. “I say, don’t hit the tree, don’t hit the tree, just go on the green please and perfect finish, it’s amazing. My mind is like, oh, my God, this is my shot. It’s amazing.”

It's going to be a battle:
The insanely intense battle for spots on the Korean UL International Crown and Olympics team continued this week in Singapore and Ha Na Jang’s mixed things up with her second-career victory. In such a strong field at the HSBC Women’s Champions, Jang is projected to move from No. 10 to No. 5 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

Jang started the week on the outside looking in on a spot to compete in the international competitions but will jump up to become the second-highest ranked South Korean trailing only No. Inbee Park

World No. 2 Inbee Park said earlier in the week that just earning a spot on both teams will be the toughest challenge this year.

“It is very tough. I think at some point No. 8 won’t get to go,” said Park. “That’s just the way it is. Just making the team is probably harder than to get a medal. That’s everyone’s goal.”

Based on this week’s rankings, six South Korean players are ranked in the top-10 in the world while nine are in the top-20. New rankings will be released tomorrow March 7th. Jang said the rankings are something she doesn’t want to get caught up in the rankings and will try to focus on her game week in and week out.

“I don’t want to think about the Olympics and the ranking, everything,” said Jang. “I’m playing golf every week and every tournament I enjoy, but I’m a little more -- the targets, I think about it. But I don’t want to think about ranking and Olympics and International Crown, just I want more enjoy playing golf, no pressure.”

South Koreans in the Rolex Rankings - As of February 29:

Rank
Player
2
Inbee Park
5
Sei Young Kim
6
In Gee Chun
7
Amy Yang
8
So Yeon Ryu
10
Ha Na Jang
11
Hyo Joo Kim
18
Bo-Mee Lee
19
Na  Yeon Choi

Tamulis' looper Frank wins Annual Caddie of the Year:
HSBC continued its tradition in Singapore to award the “Caddie of the Year” and this year happened to be an emotional one. Thomas “Motion” Frank who loops for Kris Tamulis was announced as the winner on the 10th tee on Sunday before their 9:32am tee time. It was said to be a unanimous vote amongst the caddies and players. The result seemed to be kept a great secret as Frank’s reaction was pure shock.

“Really? In shock,” said Frank standing on the 10th tee. “Unbelievable. I love golf. I love this kids getting in golf. And golf has saved my life. That’s all I have to say.”

Frank helped Tamulis to her first career LPGA Tour victory last year at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic and used the win as a bright spot in a year that was marred by personal turmoil.

Four months prior to the win, Frank was at the Tour’s stop in Hawaii when he received the news that his house in Houston had caught fire and had significant damage.

Members of the LPGA family were the first to step up and help.

Frank was presented with a special bib for Sunday’s final round and said that being recognized presented a little extra pressure.

“I felt nervous, I did,” said Frank. “I got comfortable after a couple holes, but I felt a little more pressure just to perform better.”

Quotables:
“No, not really. Never. (Laughter). Everything’s no afraid. Afraid people, no, just my playing game. So just enjoy my life every week, every day.”

-Ha Na Jang on whether the prospect of becoming No. 1 in the world scares her

“I like Adam Scott. (Laughter).”

-Ha Na Jang on who she would like to team up with at a potential PGA TOUR-LPGA mixed event

Click here for full scores & prize money.

Round 3 - Jang takes single slim lead ahead of Phatlum

March 05, 2016

Ha Na Jang had her second-consecutive bogey-free round on the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club and used a round of 68 to take the outright lead after 54 holes at the HSBC Women’s Champions. The 23-year old from Korea sits atop the leaderboard at 12-under par and leads Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum (68) by one shot. Jang had a balanced day with two birdies on both the front and back nine and extended her bogey-free streak to 40 holes. Amy Yang and Mirim Lee are tied for third at 10-under par. Eleven players are within five shots of the lead.

Jang has been solid statistically all week and leads the field in driving accuracy (90.5%) and ranks second in greens in regulation (83.3%). She hit all 14 fairways on Saturday and missed just one green.

“Yesterday, sometimes a little miss green but today just like one miss is really fantastic right now,” said Jang. “A couple more shots like yesterday, after the round I practice on the range, so it was really good today. Then the putter is a little bit, missed it, but okay, just one more day, it’s no problem.”

This will mark the fourth time Jang holds at least a share of the 54-hole lead and the second time she will hold the lead outright heading into Sunday’s final round. She won her first LPGA title last month at the Coates Golf Championship when she went into the final 18 holes tied for the lead with world No. 1 Lydia Ko. The last time she held the outright lead was last year when she lost in a playoff to Chella Choi at the Marathon Classic.

She said it’s definitely a position she covets and sees it as a huge reason to have some built-up confidence going into tomorrow.

“But just a little more confidence and then very comfortable in my mind and pride in myself,” said Jang. “I talk to every hole in myself, just keep going, ‘Ha Na, don’t think about it anymore, just keep playing golf.’”

Pornanong Phatlum, who is seeking her first LPGA title, had six birdies and two bogeys in her round of 68. The top-ranked Thai player said her preparation for Sunday’s final round won’t be done on the range or putting green but in her head.

“Maybe tomorrow I have to prepare myself, like my mental, before going out on the course,” said Phatlum. “Have to be ready, like don’t think too much like today.”

Six players are tied for fifth at 8-under and four shots back including No. 4 Stacy Lewis, two-time major champ Suzann

Pettersen and 18-year old Canadian Brooke Henderson. Ariya Jutanugarn had the low round of the day – 6-under par 66 – and moved from a tie for 25th into a tie for 5th. Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko made the most of moving day and climbed 21 spots up the leaderboard to T20 after a round of 67. Her third round was seven shots better than her 74 on Friday.

“I wouldn’t call it lousy, I just didn’t strike the ball very well the last two days and I hit the ball much better today,” said Ko. “I got a few putts to go in. They weren’t very long, but I just played much more solid, and you know, when you play a bogey-free round, especially a course like this, it kind of means I was scrambling well, and I was hitting the ball pretty solid.”

Round 2 - Bogey-free Jang and Lee take lead

March 04, 2016

Ha Na Jang and Mirim Lee share the second-round lead of the HSBC Women’s Champions and sit atop the leaderboard at 8-under par. Both players were bogey-free on Friday and lead Suzann Pettersen (69) and Pornanong Phatlum (67) by one shot. Jang had four birdies and an eagle on the par 5 7th hole in her round of 66, the low round of the tournament so far, while Lee had five birdies en route to a round of 67.

Jang, who is No. 10 in the Rolex Rankings, also had an eagle on Thursday in the first round and seemed like the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club has given her no issues at all.

“First round and second round, two eagles, so I feel very comfortable,” said Jang. “On every hole, I be patient every hole, so it’s no problem this week.”

Jang won the season’s second event- the Coates Golf Championship-for her first LPGA title and said some effective self-talk helped her through Friday’s round.

“Today I’m very comfortable on the front nine,” said Jang. “And I’m talking to myself, ‘don’t do too much thinking Ha Na, just be patient, a lot of birdies, two more days, so more concentration, you can do it.”

Lee, who is a two-time winner on Tour, said she hasn’t felt comfortable with her swing after going through some major changes in the offseason. She picked up both of her career victories during her rookie season in 2014.

“Swing feels no good, right now but scoring well,” said Lee. “I have no idea. I just try straight, straight, straight.”

Fifteen-time winner Suzann Pettersen is in the hunt heading into the weekend after rounds of 68-69 and missed a seven-foot birdie putt on the last to stay at 7-under par and one shot back.

“Yeah, it’s been two great solid rounds for me,” said Pettersen. “Feel like I left a couple out there today, but I mean, it’s not easy, starting the round with the wind gusting here and there but overall very happy.”

Pettersen has five career victories in Asia and has been wanting to add this week’s title to her resume. She lists the Tour’s stop in Singapore as one of her favorite places to visit in the world.

“I feel like Asia is my second home,” said Pettersen. “I really just try to win everywhere I go, and we’ve played a lot in Asia, so I’ve had a lot of opportunities over the years. HSBC is still on my bucket list to win, so I have a job to do in the next two days, so we’ll see.”

Four players are tied for fifth at 6-under par including Amy Yang, Gerina Piller, Shanshan Feng and LPGA of Japan member Sun-Ju Ahn.

Perks with Butch:
Suzann Pettersen has been vocal about the positive results she’s seen in her game since starting to work with Butch Harmon at the beginning of the year last year and adds the exposure to some of the world’s best male players as one of the perks to playing under Harmon’s watch.

Before making the trip for the LPGA’s Asia swing, Pettersen drove down to south Florida from Orlando to get a session in with Harmon and ended up getting more than she bargained for. She got a front row seat to watching world No. 5 on the men’s side Rickie Fowler post a course-record 60 at the Floridian in Palm City.

“Rickie and I went to see Butch at the Floridian. Yani was there to see Claude,” said Pettersen. “We did some good work all of us in the morning and after lunch we decided to go play and Rickie shot an easy 60, had a putt for 59, had a couple of drinks on the back nine.”

Pettersen says she loves getting access to seeing the best male players fine tune their games and turns into a sponge to soak up any advice.

“That’s kind of what I love, as well, being with Butch,” said Pettersen. “You get a close-up of some of the best male players in the world. It’s just nice to be able to kind of talk different shots and kind of discuss how they execute certain stuff. I seem to learn a lot from it, so I really enjoy it.”

The Norwegian says after watching Fowler completely in zone, he’ll be hard to root against when the major championship season starts in a month.

“Rickie played a flawless round of golf, easiest 60 I’ve ever seen,” said Pettersen. “I think he’s going to be red-hot for the Masters. He hits it so pure and flushing it, and he hits his driver really straight. Obviously putted fantastic. It’s just fun to see how his game has come around. But he works hard at it. It doesn’t come for free, so good for him”

Quotable:
“Butch, he’s given me -- we’ve worked really hard in the start of the change, and now it’s more for me to go out and trust it. But for me, it’s like deliberate practice is what I need to do, don’t waste time, but when I do practice, it’s got to be really high quality. He’s a good man to keep a leash on my neck to make sure I stay right on top of it.”

-Suzann Pettersen on her approach to practice under Butch Harmon

“Singapore golf course looks like jungles, so I try like jungles shirts.”

-Ha Na Jang on her outfit choice on Friday

Round 1 - Kung and Lee take R1 lead in Singapore

March 03, 2016

Fifteen-year LPGA veteran Candie Kung and second-year member Minjee Lee hold the first round lead at the HSBC Women’s Champions after rounds of 5-under 67. They lead a group of four players that includes world No. 2 and defending champ Inbee Park, two-time major champion Suzann Pettersen and LPGA winners Lee-Anne Pace and Mika Miyazato by one shot.

Kung, a four-time LPGA Tour winner, went out in the first group on the back nine had five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on the par 5 12th hole. Lee put up one of the better scores in the later groups as wind picked up and posted four birdies, one bogey and an eagle on No. 12 as well.

The 19-year old from Australia said the conditions were breezy throughout her entire round but got stronger toward the end.

“I think it was pretty much windy when I hit my first shot,” said Lee. “So it didn’t change too much. Just a little bit stronger towards the end of the day.”

Lee said just two weeks ago at the Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide, she started working on a lower ball flight which seemed to help in the wind.

“Actually at Aussie Open, my coach was there and we tried to lower my ball flight a little bit,” said Lee. “So we were just working on some swing changes there. I think I’m getting the hang of it. It’s been better. We’ve been working on my putting a little bit more with my caddie and everyone. So it’s getting more steadier.”

Kung, whose last victory was at the 2008 HanaBank-KOLON Championship, said she welcomes the wind.

“I love wind. Windy is good. It makes it tough for everybody,” said Kung. “Brings everybody into the game. You have to hit good shot out there and make your putts….The eagle, I got a good bounce there. Bounced it up to about six feet from the hole and I made the putt. The wind was calm back then, four hours ago, on that hole. So it was a lot easier. Otherwise that hole would be into the wind.”

Inbee Park tied her low round of the year so far with a 4-under 68 and made two long birdie putts on the back nine on Nos. 13 and 16 and added her fifth birdie of the day on the last to get within one shot of the lead.

“I think I’m still a little bit rusty from taking so much break in the off-season,” said Park. “But obviously today’s round is the best round yet of the season. I hit the ball best out of all the rounds that I’ve played all year, and obviously I putted best out of all the rounds I played this year.”

The defending champion said at this point any solid round is a step in the right direction with building confidence in her game.

“Hopefully that’s a really good sign,” said Park. “I just want to keep building my confidence up for the next three days. It will be good if I can hold the trophy at the end of the tournament, but if not, what matters to me is just building up the confidence.”

Bogey-Free Streak Comes to An End For Park:
Inbee Park knew it would most likely come to an end at some point this week and was just glad to get it over with. Park went bogey-free all 72 holes during her victory here a year ago and almost made it through the first round this week to continue the streak. She picked up her lone bogey of the day on the par 3 17th.

Even more impressively, Park’s streak dates back to 2014 in the third round. Her last bogey at this event was on the par 4 9th hole two years ago which made her bogey-free streak 115 holes.

“Yeah, it was going to come at some point,” said Park. “It’s actually nice to get it over with today and without playing with it for the next three days. It was a good round. To make a bogey is disappointing, but it happens.”

I Can See Clearly Now:
Minjee Lee is seeing the game in a completely different way this season and has had an unexpected upgrade to her eyesight. Lee was going through a physical for the Olympics during the off season and ended up failing the eye test portion.

“Well, before Christmas, I got my eyes checked for the Olympics because we had to do a medical screening,” said Lee. “So, yeah, I’m wearing contacts now, and I have glasses at home when I don’t wear contacts… The optometrist said two years it’s been deteriorating. She said my brain was just so used to it. I was like, okay. But now I can see like really, really clearly.”

With the new contacts, Lee said she’s like any new user and is getting used to wearing them for the extended hours outside on the course.

“They are working pretty well,” said Lee. “They dry out a little bit on the golf course when it’s windy, so you always have eye drops. It’s good.”

Quotable:
“At first I was thinking about ten. And now I just keep going. Who knows when I’m going to stop. You never know...Because I started when I was 20, yeah. So 30, it was a good time, 30, start something else. But I guess there was nothing else going on my life, so I’m still here...Yeah, I’m actually happier now playing golf.”

-Candie Kung on extending her career at least five years longer than originally planned

Withdraw:
In Gee Chun withdrew prior to the first round due to a back injury. Second-year LPGA member Jing Yan replaced her in the field and played alongside Brooke Henderson and Minjee Lee. Yan, just 19 years old, brought the average age of the trio down to 18.7 years of age. Yan, who was born in China plays under the Chinese flag but grew up in Singapore and lists it as her current residence. She’s the third-highest ranked Chinese player in the world at No. 130 in the Rolex Rankings, only behind No. 9 Shanshan Feng and No. 45 Xi Yu Lin. She finished the first round 2-over par and in a tie for 50th.

Scores

Pos. Player Scores Total Dif. Prize Money
1 Ha Na Jang 70 - 66 - 68 - 65 269 -19 $225,000.00
2 Pornanong Phatlum 70 - 67 - 68 - 68 273 -15 $142,776.00
3 Amy Yang 71 - 67 - 68 - 71 277 -11 $103,574.00
T4 Candie Kung 67 - 72 - 70 - 69 278 -10 $56,047.00
T4 Ariya Jutanugarn 73 - 69 - 66 - 70 278 -10 $56,047.00
T4 Chella Choi 70 - 70 - 68 - 70 278 -10 $56,047.00
T4 Na Yeon Choi 70 - 70 - 68 - 70 278 -10 $56,047.00
T4 Mirim Lee 69 - 67 - 70 - 72 278 -10 $56,047.00
T9 Gerina Piller 70 - 68 - 73 - 68 279 -9 $30,779.00
T9 Brooke M. Henderson 70 - 71 - 67 - 71 279 -9 $30,779.00
T9 Stacy Lewis 71 - 69 - 68 - 71 279 -9 $30,779.00
T9 Suzann Pettersen 68 - 69 - 71 - 71 279 -9 $30,779.00
T13 Sandra Gal 70 - 74 - 69 - 67 280 -8 $24,857.00
T13 Shanshan Feng 69 - 69 - 72 - 70 280 -8 $24,857.00
T15 Mika Miyazato 68 - 75 - 70 - 68 281 -7 $20,949.00
T15 Lydia Ko 71 - 74 - 67 - 69 281 -7 $20,949.00
T15 Hyo Joo Kim 70 - 72 - 69 - 70 281 -7 $20,949.00
T15 Paula Creamer 72 - 67 - 71 - 71 281 -7 $20,949.00
T19 Karrie Webb 72 - 72 - 73 - 65 282 -6 $17,354.00
T19 Lexi Thompson 71 - 72 - 70 - 69 282 -6 $17,354.00
T19 Morgan Pressel 71 - 69 - 73 - 69 282 -6 $17,354.00
T19 Cristie Kerr 70 - 75 - 67 - 70 282 -6 $17,354.00
T19 Jessica Korda 71 - 69 - 72 - 70 282 -6 $17,354.00
T24 Jenny Shin 72 - 69 - 71 - 71 283 -5 $14,931.00
T24 Carlota Ciganda 70 - 71 - 69 - 73 283 -5 $14,931.00
T24 Minjee Lee 67 - 73 - 69 - 74 283 -5 $14,931.00
T27 Lizette Salas 73 - 73 - 70 - 68 284 -4 $13,289.00
T27 Anna Nordqvist 70 - 72 - 69 - 73 284 -4 $13,289.00
T27 Haru Nomura 71 - 68 - 71 - 74 284 -4 $13,289.00
T30 Charley Hull 71 - 73 - 72 - 69 285 -3 $11,569.00
T30 Inbee Park 68 - 73 - 75 - 69 285 -3 $11,569.00
T30 Sun-Ju Ahn 69 - 69 - 76 - 71 285 -3 $11,569.00
T30 Karine Icher 73 - 69 - 70 - 73 285 -3 $11,569.00
T34 Sakura Yokomine 73 - 74 - 68 - 71 286 -2 $9,810.00
T34 Azahara Munoz 72 - 73 - 70 - 71 286 -2 $9,810.00
T34 Angela Stanford 70 - 72 - 72 - 72 286 -2 $9,810.00
T34 Sei Young Kim 73 - 67 - 73 - 73 286 -2 $9,810.00
T38 Brittany Lang 74 - 75 - 73 - 65 287 -1 $7,986.00
T38 Julieta Granada 75 - 73 - 71 - 68 287 -1 $7,986.00
T38 Ilhee Lee 69 - 78 - 69 - 71 287 -1 $7,986.00
T38 Xi Yu Lin 75 - 69 - 72 - 71 287 -1 $7,986.00
T38 I.K. Kim 72 - 71 - 71 - 73 287 -1 $7,986.00
T38 Hee Young Park 70 - 74 - 69 - 74 287 -1 $7,986.00
T44 So Yeon Ryu 73 - 72 - 71 - 72 288 E $6,644.00
T44 Alison Lee 72 - 70 - 74 - 72 288 E $6,644.00
T44 Lee-Anne Pace 68 - 72 - 74 - 74 288 E $6,644.00
T47 Kim Kaufman 78 - 72 - 72 - 67 289 1 $6,058.00
T47 Mo Martin 72 - 69 - 73 - 75 289 1 $6,058.00
49 Pernilla Lindberg 70 - 74 - 74 - 72 290 2 $5,706.00
T50 Ai Miyazato 77 - 73 - 71 - 70 291 3 $5,316.00
T50 Brittany Lincicome 74 - 74 - 71 - 72 291 3 $5,316.00
T50 Mi Hyang Lee 69 - 76 - 74 - 72 291 3 $5,316.00
T53 Sun Young Yoo 73 - 76 - 73 - 70 292 4 $4,768.00
T53 Jing Yan 74 - 77 - 70 - 71 292 4 $4,768.00
T53 Kris Tamulis 70 - 73 - 78 - 71 292 4 $4,768.00
T53 Eun-Hee Ji 72 - 74 - 74 - 72 292 4 $4,768.00
T57 Jane Park 82 - 70 - 73 - 72 297 9 $4,299.00
T57 Michelle Wie 75 - 72 - 75 - 75 297 9 $4,299.00
T59 Mariajo Uribe 76 - 74 - 73 - 75 298 10 $3,987.00
T59 Sock Hwee Koh 76 - 73 - 74 - 75 298 10 $3,987.00
61 Yani Tseng 76 - 77 - 73 - 74 300 12 $3,831.00
62 Melissa Reid 80 - 70 - 75 - 78 303 15 $3,752.00
WD Austin Ernst 77 77 5 $0.00

Preview

DATES: March 03-06
SITE:  Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore
PRIZE MONEY: $1,500,000
Click here for tournament stats & info

Singapore welcomes the world's best again:
A stacked field of 60 players will compete this week in Singapore for the ninth staging of the HSBC Women’s Champions at Sentosa Golf Club. The world’s elite female golfers will take on the Serapong Course this week with six past champions in the field including defending champion and world No. 2 Inbee Park. Fellow winners here include Ai Miyazato (2010), Karrie Webb (2011), Angela Stanford (2012), Stacy Lewis (2013) and Paula Creamer (2014).

All 10 of the top-10 players in the world will tee it up and fight for the $1.5 million purse while only two players are missing from the top-25. All four winners in 2016 (Hyo Joo Kim, Ha Na Jang, Haru Nomura and Lexi Thompson) are will also be in action.

This year will mark the fourth year the event will take place at Sentosa Golf Club after being played for the first five years at Tanah Merah Country Club. Lorena Ochoa (2008) holds the tournament scoring record of 20-under par set at Tanah Merah while Stacy Lewis (2013) and Inbee Park (2015) have set the scoring mark of 15-under at Sentosa.

World No.1 returns to action:
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko will return to action after taking last week in Thailand off. The 18-year old has had a sensational start to the 2016 season and recorded two top-3 finishes in her two LPGA appearances and defended her title in her home country at the LET/ALPG co-sanctioned ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open. She was T3 in her debut at the Coates Golf Championship and runner-up at the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open.

Ko has fared well in her two appearances in Singapore and finished 15th in 2014 and runner-up a year ago. She was in the final group last season alongside Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis and shot a final-round 70 to finish two shots behind Park.

Ko currently ranks third in scoring average (69.375), fifth in bridies (36) and fifth on the money list ($199,646)

Lydia Ko's worldwide record so far in 2016:

Event
Scores Finish
Coates Golf Championship 69-69-67-75=280 (-8) T3
ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open (LET/ALPG)   Win
ISPS Handa Australian Women's Open 70-70-68-67=275 (-13) 2

Lexi poised for huge year:
If last week was a sample of what Lexi Thompson is capable of on a consistent basis, the rest of the Tour should be concerned. Thompson put on a ball striking clinic at Siam Country Club in Pattaya and tied it together with a solid putting week to blow the field away by six shots for her seventh LPGA title.

Thompson said she worked on the mental aspect of her game in the offseason along with her short game and it proved to pay off nicely. With her length (averaging a Tour-leading 290 yards off the tee) and an above average attitude, Thompson will be having plenty to smile about in 2016. With her win last week, Thompson surpassed Stacy Lewis for the No. 3 ranking in the world and unseats her as the top-ranked American, a title Lewis has held since June 4, 2012.

“Just overall my outlook on life being more positive and realizing that golf isn’t my life,” said Thompson. “It’s just what I do. It’s not who I am. Just coming out here, not getting so mad at bad shots. I still get frustrated. I’m human. But that’s the way I get even and I just try to go into the next shot with a positive attitude. And it’s helped me with the wins last year there in Korea, Michigan and especially at Solheim too. Just keeping my nerves under control with the breathing, this one here it helped dramatically.”

Thompson has played well in Singapore in her first three appearances and has yet to finish outside the top 16. Previous finishes include: T12 in 2015, T16 in 2014 and T8 in 2013.

Reak deal rookie:
It won’t take many by surprise that In Gee Chun has seemed to make a seamless transition from the LPGA of Korea (KLPGA) to the LPGA Tour this season. In just her first two starts in her rookie year, Chun finished in a tie for third at the Coates Golf Championship and runner-up last week to Lexi Thompson in Thailand. The player nicknamed “Dumbo” who is quickly becoming known for her amiable personality is the only rookie in the field this week, earning a spot based on her Rolex Ranking.

The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion is the clear front runner for the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year and currently has 166 points in the race, 96 points ahead of the next rookie on the list, Gaby Lopez. Chun leads the Tour in scoring average (69.25), ranks second in birdies (39) and has ascended to No. 6 in the Rolex Rankings with her finish in Thailand last week.

The 21-year old South Korea native has plenty of professional experience and comes over from the KLPGA with eight career victories. She had five wins last year en route to Player of the Year honors, money title and scoring average title.




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