Four of the world's best golfers to represent Korea in Tokyo
Park In-bee, Ko Jin-young, Kim Sei-young and Kim Hyo-joo will represent Korea in the women's golf tournament at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The International Golf Federation is set to announce the final qualifying players for the 2020 Games on Tuesday, or early Wednesday in Korea, but the latest Rolex Women's World Ranking has already been announced on Monday, making it clear who is eligible to qualify.
The top-15 players are eligible for the Olympics, with a limit of four players from any country. After the top 15, players are eligible based on their world ranking with a maximum of two players from each country. There are 60 berths available.
With four Korean golfers ranked within the top 15 in the world, Korea is one of only two countries with the maximum four competitors eligible to compete in Tokyo: World No. 2 Ko, No. 3 Park, No. 4 Kim Sei-young and No. 6 Kim Hyo-joo.
The United States is the only other country that gets to take four female golfers to the Games: World No. 1 Nelly Korda, No. 5 Danielle Kang, No. 9 Lexi Thompson and No. 13 Jessica Korda. The two Korda sisters will also be joined in Tokyo by their brother Sebastian, who will represent the United States in tennis.
A total of 35 countries are expected to be represented in the women's event in Tokyo.
Golf returned to the Olympics at the 2016 Rio Games for the first time since 1904, with a women's event contested for the first time. Both Park and Kim Sei-young were part of the Korean contingent in Rio, with Park ultimately walking away with the gold medal, making her the only women's golf Olympic gold medalist in history.
Park and Kim Sei-young both started strong in Rio, finishing the first round tied for second behind Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand. Park pulled into the lead in the second round and held it until the end of the tournament, while Kim slipped back to ultimately finish tied for 25th.
Korea's other representatives in Rio, Amy Yang and Chun In-gee, finished tied for fourth and 13th, respectively.
Ko's Olympic qualification comes in the same week that she lost the world No. 1 spot after 100 weeks on top. Despite a dominant career, Ko is yet to pick up a win this year. Her best finish in nine tournaments this year was tied for third at the Hugel-Air Premier LA Open in April. Her only win since 2019 was at the CME Group Tour Championship in December last year.
Kim Hyo-joo has been on good form this year, finishing tied for third at the Women's PGA Championship over the weekend.
The four female golfers will be joined in Tokyo by Im Sung-jae and Kim Si-woo, who will represent Korea in the men's tournament.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]