Top two in women’s golf to clash in S. Korea

October 13, 2015
Lydia Ko, left, is looking for her third win in three consecutive starts at the 2015 Sime Darby Malaysia Open, while Park Inbee looks to defend her world No. 1 position. (AP Photos)

Lydia Ko, left, is looking for her third win in three consecutive starts at the 2015 Sime Darby Malaysia Open, while Park Inbee looks to defend her world No. 1 position. (AP Photos)

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) — The two best players in women’s golf will clash in South Korea this week, as the LPGA Tour makes its annual stop in the country.

World No. 1 Park In-bee of South Korea and No. 2 Lydia Ko of New Zealand will headline the star-studded field in the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at the Ocean Course of Sky 72 Golf and Resort in Incheon, west of Seoul. The 72-hole event will feature the top 59 players from the LPGA Tour, along with a dozen players from the Korea LPGA (KLPGA) Tour.

On the current world rankings, Park is on top with 12.78 points, barely ahead of Ko, who has 12.52 points.

Park has won four times this season, including two majors, while Ko has captured one major as part of her four-win season. The teenage sensation has posted two wins and a runner-up finish in her last three appearances.

They’re also neck-and-neck in major LPGA statistical categories. Park has a slight edge over Ko on the money list (US$2.31 million to $2.19 million), in scoring average (69.442 to 69.534) and in the Player of the Year points race (243 to 224). There will be five tournaments left in 2015 after this week.

With $300,000 in the winner’s check this week, Ko, a South Korean native competing here for the second straight year, could overtake Park for the money lead.

LPGA rookie Baek Kyu-jung is the defending champion. She won last year’s event as a non-LPGA member, and the victory granted her LPGA playing privileges for 2015.

South Koreans have won 12 out of 26 LPGA tournaments in 2015. The LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship was first played in 2002 under a different corporate sponsor, and South Koreans have won nine out of 13 events.

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