CHONBURI – It’s a week in the Land of Smiles for the LPGA Tour, as the world’s best female golfers take to Thailand’s Siam Country Club Pattaya and the 2018 Honda LPGA Thailand.
Seventy players have made their way to Siam C.C.’s Old Course for the 12th playing of the Honda LPGA Thailand, including the top six players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings: –
No. 1 Shanshan Feng
No. 2 Sung Hyun Park
No. 3 So Yeon Ryu
No. 4 Lexi Thompson
No. 5 Anna Nordqvist
No. 6 In Gee Chun.
Defending champion Amy Yang aims to ake her third title here in Thailand, having tasted victory in 2015 and 2017, while 2018 winners Brittany Lincicome (Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic) and Jin Young Ko (ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open) will also make their cases to return to the winner’s circle.
Yang absolutely dominated the 2017 Honda LPGA Thailand, notching a wire-to-wire, five-stroke victory over Ryu and setting the tournament’s 72-hole scoring record of 22-under 266. Thailand is certainly one of Yang’s strongest events – in her eight career starts here, she has two victories and seven top-12 finishes.
Among the highlights of the LPGA’s weeks in Asia are undoubtedly the fabulous fashions shown at various photo calls, including today’s event in Thailand. LPGA stars Brooke Henderson, Moriya Jutanugarn and Alison Lee joined forces with sponsor invites Muni He, Bo Mee Lee and Supamas Sangchan to model some of Thailand’s finest garments.
The six players donned dresses called Jakapat Thai national costumes, which are worn for special occasions and official royal ceremonies. They also received a tutorial in creating “phuang malai,” ancient Thai floral garlands made of fragrant flowers, such as jasmine and roses.
LPGA STARS VISIT LOCAL SCHOOL
As part of Honda’s on-going dedication to better the local community, several participants in this week’s Honda LPGA Thailand visited the Wat Khao Pho Thong School, just five miles from Siam Country Club. Thai favorite Ariya Jutanugarn, along with defending champion Amy Yang, Ha Neul Kim and Saranporn Langkulgasettrin visited with students and participated in some “brain-based” learning, which combines physical activity and educational opportunities into fun exercises.
“I would like to applaud Honda and IMG for providing such a thoughtful and practical support for local students so they can have access to a comprehensive learning environment,” said Yang. “My interaction with the children has, in turn, given me optimism, courage and spirit to keep doing my best and be a good role model for the next generations.”
THAILAND IS LAP THREE IN RACE TO THE CME GLOBE
This week’s Honda LPGA Thailand marks the third lap of the 2018 Race to the CME Globe. With a win apiece, Brittany Lincicome and Jin Young Ko sit tied atop the standings with 500 points each, followed by Wei-Ling Hsu with 337 points, Hannah Green with 260 points and defending Honda LPGA Thailand winner Amy Yang with 190 points.
Throughout the season’s 33 official events, LPGA Members will battle for position, with the top 12 players after the Blue Bay LPGA heading into the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship with the opportunity to take home a $1 million bonus, the biggest prize in women’s golf.
All tournaments have the same point values except for the five major championships, which carry 25 percent more value. For all events with a cut, points are awarded to members who make the cut, while for events without a cut, points are awarded to members who finish in the top 40 and ties.
Points will be reset for the CME Group Tour Championship following the Blue Bay LPGA, with the top 72 LPGA Members, as well as any non-Member winners and alternates, seeded into the championship field. For the top five players, it’s easy – win the CME Group Tour Championship and take home $1 million. However, the top 12 in the points race all have a mathematical chance to take the title of Race to the CME Globe Champion and win the coveted check.
In 2017, Lexi Thompson became the first American winner of the Race to the CME Globe and the accompanying $1 million prize. She joined Lydia Ko (2014, 2015) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2016) as the only players to hoist the crystal trophy.