South Korea’s world No. 5 Ko Jin-young is set to return to the Republic to defend her title at the March 2-5 HSBC Women’s World Championship, organisers announced on Thursday.
The two-time Major winner had claimed the title in 2022 by a two-shot margin over Minjee Lee and Chun In-gee after a thrilling final day. It was Ko’s only win in 2022.
Her victory at the Sentosa Golf Club saw her make LPGA Tour history as she became the first female golfer to shoot 15 straight rounds in the 60s, surpassing the previous record of 14 she held jointly with Swedish great Annika Sorenstam and compatriot Ryu So-yeon.
Ko, 27, is looking forward to the chance to win back-to-back titles, a feat that has yet to be achieved at the competition, and is thrilled by the news that the US$1.8 million (S$2.4 million) tournament would welcome fans back for the first time since 2019.
The 2020 edition of the championship was cancelled owing to the pandemic, while it was held behind closed doors in 2021 and 2022. The 2019 edition drew 32,000 fans across four tournament days.
“It was a big achievement for me to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year as it had been a goal of mine with so many great players having won it over the years,” said the former world No. 1, who has had to navigate some ups and downs in her 2022 season as she struggled with an injury to her left wrist, in a statement.
“I am excited to return to Singapore to defend my title but I am even more excited to hear that we will have fans back with us in 2023.
“We have all really missed having fans out there supporting us at the Tanjong course as they make the atmosphere so special.
“Singapore is a favourite destination of all the players. I can’t wait to return and enjoy all the beautiful sights, the amazing food and definitely all the wonderful fans.”
Grant Slack, IMG’s executive vice-president and managing director of golf events, said: “We have been so fortunate to be able to host the championship during the last couple of years with all the Covid travel restrictions in place and we are very grateful to the Singapore Tourism Board and the Singapore Government who helped facilitate this.
“We will be celebrating our 15th edition next year and we couldn’t be more excited to be announcing that we will be able to welcome spectators once again.
“We have some very special plans in place to both enhance our spectator experience and to celebrate their return in style.”
Tickets go on sale from noon on Dec 16 and can be bought here.