Competitive field gathers in Florida for LPGA’s penultimate tournament
For the penultimate tournament of the season, the LPGA Tour returns to South Florida for the third playing of the Pelican Women’s Championship this weekend.
The world’s top golfers take to the golf course at Pelican Golf Club in Belleair for their last chance to rack up some points before the season wraps at next week’s CME Group Tour Championship.
The field includes nine of the top-10 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. With new No. 1 Atthaya Thitikul sitting out the penultimate event, No. 2 Ko Jin-young will enter as the top-ranked golfer.
Ko Jin-young has been struggling with a wrist injury for the last few months, failing to make the cut in two consecutive LPGA tournaments in August then sitting out tournaments for two months.
Her most recent appearance was at the BMW Ladies Championship in October, but she was forced to withdraw from the event after carding an eight-over-par on the first day and a seven-over-par on the second day.
That injury resulted in Ko Jin-young losing her top spot on the world rankings on Oct. 30, nine months after she took the top spot on Jan. 31. She first reached No.1 in April of 2019 and has now spent a combined total of 152 weeks on top, just six weeks shy of Mexican golfer Lorena Ochoa’s record of 158 weeks.
If Ko Jin-young can find her form this week, she might pull through just in time to repeat her success last season and finish her year with a bang.
Last season, Ko Jin-young won the most important trophy of the LPGA season at the CME Group Tour Championship, also defending her title. She also won the Rolex Player of the Year award.
If she overcomes her injury this week, that might put her back on track in time for a third-straight win at the CME Group Tour Championship.
The CME Group Tour Championship is the final event on the LPGA Tour this season and it is the culmination of the season-long points competition, the Race to the CME Globe. LPGA golfers accumulate points in every official LPGA event to enter the season-ending championship.
After this week’s penultimate Pelican Women’s Championship, the field will be set for the top 60 players in the Race to the CME Globe points standings.
Alongside Ko Jin-young, Kim Sei-young makes her way to Belleair this week to try and repeat her past success in 2020 when she won the inaugural Pelican Women’s Championship.
This is the third playing of the Pelican Women’s Championship; Kim won the inaugural event by three shots in November of 2020, while Nelly Korda of the United States won the 2021 tournament with a 23-foot birdie in a four-way playoff against Kim, Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson. Both past champions Kim and Korda are in this week’s field, as are 20 of this season’s 25 LPGA Tour winners.
The Pelican Women’s Championship is the last opportunity for golfers to earn points before the CME Group Tour Championship. With two wins and 11 top-10 finishes, Lydia Ko stands atop the points standings followed by Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand, Minjee Lee of Australia, Brooke Henderson of Canada and Choi Hye-jin.
Including Choi, there are currently a total of 12 Koreans within the top 60 in the Race to the CME Globe points standings.
Chun In-gee is No. 8, Kim Hyo-joo is No. 12, Ko Jin-young is No. 16, An Na-rin is No. 34, Kim A-lim is No. 35, Ji Eun-hee is No. 36, Kim Sei-young is No. 38, Chella Choi is No. 45, Lee Jeong-eun is No. 48, Park In-bee is No. 50 and Amy Yang is No. 52.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]