The world’s top-ten ranked female golfers will be heading to Singapore in less than two months’ time to compete in the 10th edition of the HSBC Women’s Champions which will be staged on the New Tanjong Course, Sentosa Golf Club, from 2-5 March this year.
The challenge will be spearheaded by world no. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand; world no. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand; and world no. 3 – and 2016 Rookie of the Year – In Gee Chun of South Korea. The trio will lead a star-studded cast of 63 players in what is set to be one of the most competitive fields of the LPGA Tour’s 2017 schedule.
Joining them at the US$ 1.5 million purse tournament will be local fan favourite and world no. 4, Shanshan Feng of China; Lexi Thompson of the U.S., teenage sensation, Brooke Henderson of Canada; and Korean quintet comprising defending champion Ha Na Jang and compatriots So Yeon Ryu, Sei Young Kim and Sung Hyun Park.
With five Korean players in the top-ten – and a Korean artist set to be announced as the headline act for the after-play entertainment on Saturday 4 March – fans will enjoy the Korean flavour to this year’s tournament.
World No. 1 Lydia Ko has played HSBC Women’s Champions the last three years and recorded a runner-up finish in 2015 behind Inbee Park. The 19-year-old had a stellar 2016, securing four LPGA Tour wins and a further ten top-10 finishes during the season. The New Zealander said: “I am looking forward to returning to Singapore to compete for the HSBC Women’s Champions title. The tournament always attracts a very high quality field so it does a lot for your confidence when you do well there. I came close a couple of years ago, so I would love to go one better and take the trophy home with me this time round.”
“Away from the golf it’s one of the most fun events we get to play in. The city’s great, the fans are great and I gather there’s a big Korean act to be announced for the Saturday night’s concert after play. It should be another great event so I’m looking forward to it”, Ko added.
Hard on the heels of Ko for the coveted number one spot is Thai sensation Ariya Jutanugarn who was the form player of 2016 after a string of world class performances. With five wins last year including her first major at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, and an impressive 11 additional top-ten finishes, the Bangkok-native will look to continue the momentum she built up in 2016.
The 21-year-old commented: “Last year was a breakthrough year for me. I got over some of the injury problems I had been struggling with and managed to get the consistency back in my game. I have played HSBC Women’s Champions a couple of times and done pretty well. I hear we will be playing on the New Tanjong Course this year, so it will be a fresh challenge for all the girls. I am sure it will be a lot of fun.”
China’s Feng will return to Singapore in search of her first win in nine consecutive appearances at the tournament. Twice a winner in Malaysia, the player from Guangzhou will be hoping that the New Tanjong Course will suit her eye. To date the major winner’s best result came in 2012 when she finished tied in 2nd place alongside Na Yeon Choi and Jenny Shin, following a four-way play-off, was won by Angela Stanford.
21-year-old American Lexi Thompson, who also has one major win under her belt, is one of the most consistent performers at HSBC Women’s Champions. Playing the last five years, the 2014 ANA Inspiration champion has never finished outside the top-20. Canada’s Brooke Henderson, world no. 8 and third on the 2016 money list behind Jutanugarn and Ko, finished in tied-ninth in her debut last year. Winner of the 2016 Women’s PGA Championship, the 19-year-old from Ontario will look to take her impressive form into the new year as she attempts to become the first Canadian winner of the event.
Giles Morgan, HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events, said:“HSBC Women’s Champions has been a catalyst for growth of the women’s game in Asia. Since we created the event in 2008 it has provided a template that has helped usher in a new generation of tournaments to the region. HSBC Women’s Champions has proved time and again to be one of the toughest tests in women’s golf – to win it you have to beat the best of the best. And generally it requires something special – it’s no coincidence that two of the last three winners, Ha Na Jang and Paula Creamer, have sealed victory with unforgettable eagle putts on the final hole. That’s what this tournament is all about – the highest quality and the highest drama. Ten years. The world’s best ten players. It’s time to own the stage at ‘Asia’s Major’”
Outside the ropes, the tenth edition of the tournament will once again offer visitors a festival concept which, in 2016, saw British pop band Take That take centre stage with a live performance for 5,000 fans after-play on Saturday. Visitors to this year’s event will be able to enjoy four days of top entertainment which will climax with a trio of international musicians from Korea, USA, and Singapore performing live on stage at the driving range after play finishes on Saturday 4 March.