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Korean-born stars bid for more glory | Bangkok Post

24 กุมภาพันธ์ 2558, 23:00 น.
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Players born in South Korea will be trying to continue their dominance at this week's Honda LPGA Thailand in Pattaya.

The first three tournaments of the season were won by players of this category.

Koreans Choi Na-Yeon and Kim Sei-Young were crowned champions in Florida and Bahamas respectively and New Zealander Lydia Ko, who was born in Seoul, triumphed at the Women's Australian Open on Sunday.

Moreover, they occupy six of the top nine and 10 of the top 20 positions on the LPGA money list.

Rookie Kim and Choi will be seeking their second title of the year, while compatriot Amy Yang, who was second behind Ko in Melbourne, will attempt to finish one position higher and claim her second career LPGA victory.

Sweden's Anna Nordqvist returns to defend the Pattaya title after closing with a four-under-par 68 to edge South Korea's Park In-Bee by two strokes and earn her first LPGA victory since 2009.

Last year, Nordqvist followed the likes of Park, Taiwan's Tseng Yani, Japanese Ai Miyazato and Suzann Pettersen of Norway as LPGA Thailand champion and went on to win again during a breakout season.

Nordqvist will be against a stacked field that includes each of the aforementioned champions and a host of top-level players although Ko has chosen to play in New Zealand this week.

From Choi and Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer to Michelle Wie, Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda, fans will have a star-studded field to watch at Siam Country Club's Old Pattaya Course.

Ariya, 19, has been in fine form since earning a tour card at the Q-school in December. She was 11th at the season-opening Coates Golf Championship, second at the Bahamas Classic after losing in a three-way play-off, and third in Melbourne.

The teenager is third on the money list with US$211,887 from three tournaments.

Pornanong, who was runner-up in Malaysia last year, has had a slow start to the season, finishing 24th in Florida and missing the cut in Bahamas. The 25-year-old did not play last week to get ready for the Honda LPGA Thailand.

The other Thais in the tournament are LPGA members Moriya Jutanugarn and Thidapa Suwannapura, and amateurs Sherman Santhiwiwatthanaphong, Budsabakorn Sukapan and Paphangkorn Tavatanakit.

Also in Pattaya are Spain's Azahara Munoz and Beatriz Recari and multi-major winners Karrie Webb of Australia and Pak Se-Ri, another South Korean.

A purse of $1.5 million awaits, and players will have to navigate the par-72, 6,548-yard course as deftly as possible to battle their way to the top of the leaderboard.

Nordqvist won last year's event with a 15-under total, and Miyazato (2010) and Pettersen (2007) won with 21-under-par totals on the same course, so red numbers will be plentiful.



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