Competitive field gathers for third major of the KLPGA season
The Hanwha Classic 2021, the third KLPGA major tournament of the 2021 season, tees off Thursday at Jade Palace Golf Club in Chuncheon, Gangwon.
This year’s Hanwha Classic is the 10th edition of the tournament and the third major KLPGA tournament after the 43rd KLPGA Championship, that Park Hyun-kyung won in May, and the 35th Korea Women’s Open, that Park Min-ji won in June.
Most of the recent champions at the Hanwha Classic have made the move to the United States to play on the LPGA Tour. The 2018 champion Lee Jeong-eun, 2016 champion Park Sung-hyun, 2014 champion Kim Hyo-joo, 2013 champion Kim Sei-young, 2012 champion Choi Na-yeon and Pak Se-ri, who won the tournament three times in 1995, 1996 and 1997, all advanced to the LPGA Tour.
Defending champion Park Chae-yoon will be joined by a competitive field at the Hanwha Classic, including Park Min-ji, the most decorated KLPGA golfer this season, and Lim Hee-jeong, who last week defended her title at the HighOne Ladies Open.
A number of LPGA Tour golfers will also tee off at the Hanwha Classic. Park Hee-young returns for her second KLPGA tournament this season as she tees off with 2015 Hanwha Classic champion and three-time LPGA winner Nomura Haru of Japan. Ji Eun-hee also returns to Korea for the tournament from Carnoustie, Scotland, where she played in the AIG Women’s Open last week.
Jade Palace is known to be a challenging golf course with difficult roughs, making it even more important that golfers try to land their shots on the fairway. Last year on the same course, 69.6 percent of shots made on the fairway made it to the green, but only 32.21 percent of shots made from the rough made it to the green.
Considering that 75.53 percent is the average percentage of shots made on the green from the fairway on the KLPGA Tour this season and that 56.5 percent of shots made from the rough made it on to the green, golfers will be extra careful to avoid the roughs at Jade Palace.
“If my driver shot misses the fairway, it’s going to be extra hard to birdie,” said Park Min-ji. “It looks like the weather could be rainy. That will make it even harder to hit the ball out of the rough.”
Ji will tee off at 8:00 a.m. alongside Choi Hye-jin and Kim Ji-yeong. Haru will tee off at 8:20 a.m. alongside 2017 Hanwha Classic Champion Oh Ji-hyun and Park Hee-young. Park Min-ji will tee off at 8:30 a.m. alongside Lim and Park Chae-yoon.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]