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

A big congratulations goes out to Amy Yang for winning the Honda LPGA Thailand. Yang held off late charges by Carlota Ciganda and Minjee Lee and came away with her fourth career LPGA victory. Lee missed a 10 foot eagle putt on the final hole, and finished one shot back. For Lee, this was just another in a series of near misses. In her last 17 starts, she has seven top four finishes without a victory. Ciganda finished two strokes back. This was the third time that Yang has won this event. Amazingly Yang, who is in her twelfth season on the LPGA Tour, has never won on American soil.

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This week the LPGA moves to Singapore for the playing of the HSBC World Championship. Last year this tournament produced one of the most exciting finishes of the entire year. Michelle Wie's birdie on the 72nd and final hole gave her a one stroke victory over Brooke Henderson, Nelly Korda, Jenny Shin, and Danielle Kang. Jin Young Ko and Minjee Lee finished just two shots back.

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Michelle Wie
This will be tournament #5 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:  Michelle Wie
Winning Score:  67-73-66-65 = 271 (-17)
History:  This tournament started in 2008

Final Field:  63 Players

Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,718
Purse:  $1,500,000
Race to the CME Globe: 500 points
Aon Risk Reward Challenge Hole: #13

My strength of field rating is a very solid 76% (exactly the same as 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-six of the top 50 players on the LPGA Priority List, and thirty-nine of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. In fact, the entire top 15 players from the Rolex Rankings will be there. Top players not in attendance this week include: Jessica Korda (injury), I.K. Kim, and Brittany Lincicome. Players that didn't get into the field because of it being so small include: Katherine Kirk, Jane Park, and Haru Nomura. 

Here are the first round pairings.

Here are the Television Times: (12 hour time differential between East Coast and Thailand)
Wednesday Feb 27 -   GC 10:30 PM - 2:30AM ET
Thursday     Feb 28 -   GC 10:30 PM - 2:30AM ET
Friday          March 1 - GC 11:30 PM - 2:30AM ET
Saturday      March 2 - GC 10:30 PM - 2:30AM ET


Players Most Likely to Win: (Top players in the field)
1- Ariya Jutanugarn - Her number one ranking could be in jeopardy.
2- Sung Hyun Park - Only her second start of the season.
3- Minjee Lee - Hasn't won often, but contends every week.

Players to Watch Out For: (I'm feeling it this week)

1- Brooke Henderson - Healthy again and looking for win number eight.
2- Nasa Hataoka - Should bounce back from poor showing in Thailand.
3- Nelly Korda - Hottest player on tour right now.

Longshot Picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)

1- Angel Yin - Will get that first win this year.
2- Lydia Ko - Needs a good showing here or she can fall out of the top 20.
3- Michelle Wie - Defending champion could surprise.

Other News:

Gerina Piller returns from maternity leave and is in this week's field.

Muni He received her first paycheck as an LPGA member this past week in Thailand. Unfortunately for her, they are "unofficial earnings" and will not help her in retaining her playing privileges for next year. The same case applies to her this week in Singapore. If a player is a sponsor invitee on foreign soil with no cut, all earnings are unofficial.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Minjee Lee makes the most important move this week leaping from #7 to #3. Nelly Korda moves up to #8, and Brooke Henderson re-enters the top ten at #9. The other big moves came outside the top ten as Amy Yang moves up three spots to #13, and Jenny Shin jumps from #68 to #49.

Race to the CME Globe:   (Top 60 point earners to compete for $1.5 million first place prize).

Nelly Korda extends her lead with 780 points. She is followed by Eun-Hee Ji with 610 and Amy Yang with 576. 

Aon Risk Reward Challenge:   (1 million dollars)

Jaye Marie Green and Maria Torres continue to lead with a score of -1.50. There are six players tied for 3rd place at -1.25.

Who's Hot:

Nelly Korda is the only LPGA player with three top ten finishes.

Who's Not:
Charley Hull has failed to register a top twenty finish in any of her three starts this year.

On another matter: I know I have a number of readers that have come here in the past number of years from the 4GEA Golf Forum. That website has been down for the last week or two, and may not be coming back up. One of the long time members of that site has started a new 4GEA website. Many of the old members have shifted over there. That web address for those who are interested is 4gea.freeforums.net

This Week's Trivia Question:
Who holds the the tournament record low score for this championship?

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

Here are the final results:
1 Sung Hyun Park -15
2 Minjee Lee -13
3 Azahara Munoz -11
3 Jin Young Ko -11
5 Amy Olson -10
5 Hyo Joo Kim -10
7 Eun-Hee Ji -9
8 Jodi Ewart Shadoff -8
8 Ariya Jutanugarn -8
10 Nelly Korda -6
11 Jeongeun6 Lee -5
11 Brittany Altomare -5
11 Lydia Ko -5
14 Inbee Park -4
15 In Gee Chun -3
15 Mi Hyang Lee -3
15 Brooke Henderson -3
15 Carlota Ciganda -3
19 Thidapa Suwannapura -2
19 Caroline Masson -2
19 Nasa Hataoka -2
19 Jeong Eun Lee -2
23 Bronte Law -1
23 Celine Boutier -1
23 Moriya Jutanugarn -1

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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