Kim honoured to defend HSBC title

No decision yet on whether fans allowed into Sentosa golf event

The top female golfers will be back at the Sentosa Golf Club (SGC) next year as the Republic hosts the March 3-6 HSBC Women's World Championship.

The tournament made a comeback to Singapore this year after it was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

South Korean Kim Hyo-joo, who ended a five-year LPGA Tour title drought when she won at the New Tanjong Course in May, has confirmed her participation at next year's edition.

The world No. 9 said: "To win such a big event after not having won for such a long time felt so amazing. The tournament has had so many unbelievable winners - almost all of them Major winners - that it felt like such a huge win for me.

"The players kind of refer to it as 'Asia's Major' and it definitely felt like a huge career moment for me winning against such a world-class field."

The 26-year-old added: "All of the players appreciated how hard (organisers) IMG and the Singapore Government worked to enable us to travel to Singapore to play this year with all the international travel restrictions in place, so it was nice to be a part of such an exciting final day and to manage to come out on top.

"I am going to be very proud to stand on the first tee at beautiful Sentosa and be announced as the defending champion next year so I can't wait to see everyone in Singapore in March."

As part of the safe management measures, two separate bubbles were created for this year's tournament.

The inner bubble was for all the players, caddies, selected officials and tournament staff, who were shuttled from Fairmont Singapore to SGC and they were not allowed anywhere else.

The outer bubble was for spectators, local media and SGC staff.

Up to 250 fans - all corporate guests - were allowed daily.

Organisers said that a decision regarding attendees at next year's event will be made closer to the competition. The 2019 edition attracted 32,000 fans over four days.

The men's Asian Tour, which restarted this week in Thailand after a 20-month hiatus, plans to stage two tournaments in Singapore in January.

One is likely to be the SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa.

Other marquee competitions Singapore will stage in the coming months include the 10-team Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup from Dec 5 to Jan 1.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2021, with the headline 'Kim honoured to defend HSBC title'. Subscribe