INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — Na Yeon Choi is looking for her third straight Hana Bank Championship when the LPGA Tour’s annual swing through Asia begins Friday at the South Korean port city of Incheon.
The 23-year-old Korean is ranked No. 4 but has failed to win on tour this season. She will be up against 48 of the top 52 earners on the LPGA money list at the Sky 72 Golf Club’s Ocean Course just west of Seoul.
“I have a lot of pressure (to win), but I hope to use that pressure in a good way,” Choi said. “I won a Korea LPGA tournament a month ago, so I have a lot of confidence, especially at this golf course.”
Also in the field is top-ranked Yani Tseng of Taiwan, who has five wins this year – including two majors that made her the youngest LPGA player to reach five in a career.
Tseng currently dominates all the year-end awards races, including the money list, the Rolex Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average.
Despite the success, however, Tseng continues to be a student of the game.
“Every tournament I just try my best,” she said. “I need to keep working hard and keep learning. There are a lot of things that I can achieve.”
Cristie Kerr also returns after forfeiting her final-day singles match for the United States this month at the Solheim Cup due to tendinitis in her right wrist. The U.S. team eventually lost by a point, giving Europe its first win since 2003.
Kerr said she is monitoring her wrist and is hopeful she will be able to compete.
“Tendinitis sometimes flares up and sometimes it goes away completely,” Kerr said. “We’re just going to have to take it day-by-day and see.”
The LPGA Tour will move to Malaysia and Taiwan after South Korea, followed by the Mizuno Classic in Japan in the first week of November.
The “Asia Swing” was originally scheduled to begin a week earlier with the inaugural Imperial Springs tournament in Guangzhou, China. However, the China Golf Association notified the LPGA just two weeks before the event was supposed to begin that the tournament would be canceled.