Golf: Fan favourites, young stars confirmed for HSBC Women's World C'ship in March

(Clockwise from left) Yuka Saso of Japan, Kim Hyo-joo of South Korea, and Minjee Lee of Australia, will be participating. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Sports fans can look forward to the return of their favourite female golfers as nine of the world's top 10 players will feature at the March 3-6 HSBC Women's World Championship at the Sentosa Golf Club, organisers announced on Thursday (Jan 27).

As part of safe management measures, the tournament will again be held behind closed doors, although last year's edition allowed up to 250 fans - all corporate guests - daily.

Besides the likes of defending champion Kim Hyo-joo, last year's US Women's Open champion and Japanese young talent Yuka Saso will make her tournament debut at the New Tanjong Course.

But it will not be the 20-year-old's first time on the course, having made it to a four-way play-off in the 2018 Women's Amateur Asia Pacific. She eventually lost to Thai teenager Atthaya Thitikul, 18, who will also be returning to Sentosa.

World No. 9 Saso, who clinched six top-10 finishes last year, said she is looking forward to competing in Singapore

The Philippine-born player added: "Having spent a lot of time growing up in the Philippines, it's not quite home, but it will certainly feel closer to home.

"I know the course well having played it as an amateur in 2018, so hopefully I can play the conditions well and push for a good result."

Newly crowned Major winner Minjee Lee, who won the Amundi Evian Championship in July, will also make her return to Singapore. Her best result in the tournament was in 2019 when she finished second.

The Australian world No. 6 said: "The HSBC Women's World Championship is one of the great events on Tour and one I always have happy memories of, whether that's playing on an invite for the first time as a rookie or a couple of good results I've had over the years.

"I'll be sorry that some of the fans from my home club won't be able to make the trip up from Perth but it's just great that the tournament is on this year's schedule. I'm really looking forward to getting back out there."

Other players set to feature in Singapore include Major winners Brooke Henderson and Danielle Kang, Thai sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn and Japanese world No. 7 Nasa Hataoka.

Canadian Henderson, who finished joint-second with Kang in 2018, returns to the tournament after three years.

She said: "It's a great course and one of the best championships we get to play on Tour. I know all the players are really pleased to see it on the schedule again this year, so a big shout-out to everyone there that's making it happen."

While the tournament remains a closed-door affair, fans will be able to catch the action on HubSports.

Grant Slack, executive vice-president and managing director of golf events at tournament organiser IMG, added: "Last year's tournament played a pivotal role in bringing elite golf back to the region and while we share in fans' disappointment that the 2022 edition will again be a limited attendance event, we hope the Singapore golf community will take pride in seeing the return of such a prestigious tournament to Sentosa.

"Once again the Championship has an incredibly strong field and we are very pleased that so many of the world's best players are once again Singapore-bound."

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