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HSBC Women's World Championship Preview, Pairings, and Lots More

A big congratulations goes out this week to Jessica Korda for winning the Honda LPGA Thailand. Korda took control of this one early and eased to a 4 stroke victory over Lexi Thompson and Moriya Jutanugarn. For the 24 year old Korda, it was her 5th victory on the LPGA tour.

It was a highly unlikely outcome as Korda was coming off major jaw surgery. The surgery took place last December when doctors first had to break her nose, then break her top jaw in 3 places and bottom jaw in two. What makes her accomplishment even more impressive is that she is still feeling numbness in her face from the procedure and still has 27 screws in her face. 

Image result for 2018 HSBC women's World champions

This week the LPGA moves to Singapore for the playing of the HSBC Women's World Champions. It will be difficult to duplicate last year's exciting finish when Inbee Park (in spite of bogeying the final hole), hung on to beat Ariya Jutanugarn by one stroke.

Image result for Inbee park wins 2017 hsbc
Inbee Park holds up her 2017 HSBC Women's Champions trophy.

This will tournament #4 of 33 on the this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Sentosa Golf Club, The Tanjong Course

Location:  Singapore
Defending Champion:  Inbee Park
Winning Score:  67-67-71-64 = 269 (-19)

Final Field:  63 Players

Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,600
Purse:  $1,500,000

My strength of field rating is a very solid 76% ( down from  77.5% last year). This is an extremely strong field. The reason the field rating isn't higher is because this is a very small field (just 63 players) and loses points because of lack of depth. Forty-eight of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List, and 33 of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. The field will include non-LPGA stars Hyejin Choi (#10 in this week's world rankings) and Ha Na Jang (#31). Not in the field this week include: Gerina Piller (maternity leave) Suzann Pettersen, Mo Martin, and Azahara Munoz (the latter two didn't make the field list because it was so small).

Here are the television times:
Wednesday February 28 - GC 10:30  PM - 2:30AM ET
Friday          March 2 - GC 12:00  AM - 2:30AM ET
Saturday      March 3 - GC 12:00  AM - 2:30AM ET
Sunday        March 4 - GC 12:00  AM - 2:30AM ET    
I believe the time difference between East Coast and Singapore is 13 hours.

Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
1- Shanshan Feng - Holding onto the top spot by the narrowest of margins.
2- Lexi Thompson - World's #2 is the closest to the top spot that she has ever been.
3- Sung Hyun Park - Has fallen back slightly in her quest to retake the #1 spot.

Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)
1- Hyejin Choi - This non LPGA player is ready to win now.
2- Jin Young Ko - Because she never has a bad tournament.
3- So Yeon Ryu - Needs a good tournament to get back into the #1 mix.

Longshot picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
1- Inbee Park - Her 2018 debut. Don't ever count her out.
2- Moriya Jutanugarn - Only a longshot because she hasn't won yet.
3- Nelly Korda - Back to back Korda wins?

Other Tidbits:
This is the third time in Jessica Korda's career that she has won her very first tournament of the year.
USA players have now won 2 of the first 3 tournaments of the year, matching their entire total of the 2016 season. They won seven times in 2017. 

The USGA announced today a revised playoff format for all four USGA Open Championships - The U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Women's Senior Open, will take effect in 2018, with each championship implementing a two-hole aggregate playoff in the event of a tie at the end of 72 holes of stroke play. If the playoff results in a tie after two holes, they will continue to play off hole by hole (sudden-death format)  until the champion is determined.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Lexi Thompson makes the most important move this week, jumping from #4 to #2. She is just a whisker away from the top spot. Jessica Korda catapults from #32 all the way to #14. Azahara Munoz jumps from #73 to #65, and Pornanong Phatlum leaps up from #88 to #76.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Brittany Lincicome and Ji Young Ko are tied for the top spot with 590 points. Jessica Korda is third with 500 points, followed by Lexi Thompson with 400.

Who's Hot:
Minjee Lee, Jin Young Ko, Lexi Thompson, Shanshan Feng, and Brittany Lincicome are the only LPGA players that have finished in the top 10 in both of their starts. Ariya Jutanugarn and Brooke Henderson also have two top 10 finishes, but they have teed it up three times. Michelle Wie has finished 11th in both her starts.

Who's Not:

Angel Yin and Jenny Shin have failed to register a top 40 finish in their 2 starts this year. 

This Week's Trivia Question: 

Who is the only player to win this championship twice?

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.

Here are the Final results:

1 Michelle Wie -17
2 Jenny Shin -16
2 Brooke Henderson -16
2 Danielle Kang -16
2 Nelly Korda -16
6 Jin Young Ko -15
6 Minjee Lee -15
8 Angela Stanford -13
8 Atthaya Thitikul -13
10 Sei Young Kim -12
10 Amy Yang -12
10 Jeong Eun Lee -12
10 Lydia Ko -12
10 Jessica Korda -12
15 Caroline Masson -11
16 So Yeon Ryu -10
16 Ariya Jutanugarn -10
16 Chella Choi -10
16 Lizette Salas -10
16 Charley Hull -10
16 Ha-Na Jang -10
22 Moriya Jutanugarn -9
23 Mi Hyang Lee -8
24 Anna Nordqvist -7
24 Cristie Kerr -7
24 Austin Ernst -7
24 Hyo Joo Kim -7
24 Sung Hyun Park -7
24 Madelene Sagstrom -7

Be sure to check back here daily for any LPGA news or updates.  They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog. Tournament results will be posted here at the end of each round. Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found on the right side of this page (or on pull down menu on mobile website).
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