Park signals intent to defend HSBC crown next March

The HSBC Women's World Championship may still be nearly four months away but former world No. 1 and Olympic gold medallist Park Inbee has already confirmed she will return to defend her title next March at the Sentosa Golf Club.

Ticket sales were launched yesterday, with tournament sponsor HSBC taking the opportunity to announce the South Korean's participation as well.

The world No. 12 had a sensational final round this year. She began the final day three shots off the lead but fired nine birdies to storm to a one-stroke victory over Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn.

The 11th edition of the tournament, which will take place from March 1-4 on the refurbished Tanjong Course, has also undergone a name change. It was previously known as the HSBC Women's Champions.

The Tanjong Course will also host the inaugural Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific golf championship in February, with the winner earning an invite to the HSBC event.

"This event is a very special one to all of us on the LPGA. I love the name change and it definitely reflects the stature the tournament has achieved over the years," said Park, 29, a seven-time Major winner.

"I also look forward to seeing which exciting new young talent makes it through (the Amateur Asia-Pacific championship) and to meeting her in March."

Added Tricia Weener, HSBC's global head of marketing, commercial banking and sponsorship: "We are immensely proud of the tournament's history but as a leading sponsor of the game, we must continue to evolve and innovate to attract new fans and move golf into a new era.

"We believe the name change reflects the event's hard-earned reputation of 'Asia's Major' and the global nature of the event."

Single-day tickets cost $22 and $33 respectively for the tournament's two halves. A season pass costs $88.

Lester Wong

• For more information, visit the tournament website at www.hsbcgolf.com/womens

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2017, with the headline 'Park signals intent to defend HSBC crown next March'. Print Edition | Subscribe