Amy Yang looks for No. 4 at the Honda LPGA Thailand
The LPGA Tour continues its Asia swing on Thursday with the Honda LPGA Thailand in Chonburi, Thailand, where Amy Yang will look to take home the trophy for a fourth time.
The Honda LPGA returns to the Siam Country Club in Chonburi for the 15th edition of the tournament, completing the Tour's two-week Asia swing that started last week in Singapore.
Reigning champion Ariya Jutanugarn, the only Thai golfer ever to win the tournament, will look to defend her title, with three-time winner Yang hoping to build on her already unparalleled record at the Honda LPGA.
Statistically, the numbers are on Yang's side.
The Korean golfer first won the tournament in 2015 with 15-under-par, 273. The following year Lexi Thompson of the United States won, with Yang finishing tied for third.
In 2017, Yang came back and won again with 22-under-par, 266. Once again she missed out the following year, this time tying for 14th, with Nelly Korda of the United States winning.
In 2019, Yang did it all over again with the same score of 266. The Honda LPGA was canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, making the 2021 tournament the next in the sequence — Jutanugarn won and Yang finished tied for third again.
If that one on, one off pattern continues, 2022 ought to be Yang's year.
The world No. 57 enters the tournament on good form, having finished tied for sixth with 13-under-par at last week's HSBC Women's World Championship. Yang has completed in two other tournaments so far this year, finishing tied for 30th at the LPGA Drive On Championship in February and tied for 13th at the Gainbridge LPGA in January.
Yang isn't one of the biggest Korean names on the LPGA Tour, but her repeat success at the Honda LPGA Thailand is unmatched. Three of her four career LPGA wins came at the Thai tournament, with the only other coming from the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship in 2013.
All three of Yang's Honda LPGA wins came on the same Pattaya Old Course at Siam Country Club that the tournament will be played on this weekend.
The only other active Korean golfer to have previously won the Honda LPGA is world No. 6 Park In-bee, who won the tournament in 2013 but will not take part this year.
A total of nine Korean golfers will compete at the Honda LPGA, although world No. 1 and last week's HSBC Women's World Championship winner Ko Jin-young is not among them. After winning the tournament in Singapore and becoming the first LPGA golfer ever to record 15 consecutive rounds in the 60s and 30 consecutive rounds under par, Ko opted to head to Korea before returning to the United States.
The highest-ranked Korean golfer that is competing in Chonburi is world No. 12 Kim Hyo-joo, who enters the tournament after finishing tied for 26th in Singapore last week.
Chun In-gee enters the Honda LPGA having tied for second place last week at the HSBC Women's World Championship, with Lee Jeong-eun6 also having narrowly missed out on the winner's circle, slipping down to fourth in the last round. Kim A-lim also enters the tournament in good form, having finished tied for ninth in Singapore.
Alongside last week's success stories, Ryu So-yeon, Choi Na-yeon, Lee Jeong-eun and Chella Choi will complete the Korean lineup at the LPGA Honda.
Yang will tee off on the first hole at 9:48 a.m. on Thursday alongside Thai natives Patty Tavatanakit and Atthaya Thitikul.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]