HSBC Women's Champions
Round 4 - Inbee Park wins HSBC Women's ChampionsMarch 05, 2017
Inbee Park has won the HSBC Women's Champions with a course record 8-under-par 64. Having struggled with injury through 2016, only returning to win gold in the Rio Olympics, she is finally back in great form.
"I thought it might take maybe a couple months to get back out on the Tour and to get my rhythm back. I thought I was going to be just a little bit rusty. That's how I felt last week," said Park. "This week was totally different. Especially the final round was just what I wanted."
Ariya Jutanugarn played a final round of 66 but couldn't catch up to Park whose putting was exceptional after a shaky day on saturday.
"Today was pretty much, everything I looked at, it wanted to drop in. It was very consistent ball-striking all week, and obviously there were a lot of birdie opportunities out there and I was able to convert many of them today," continued Park.
Jutanugarn kept up with Park for most of Sunday but made bogey on the 12th which was what Park needed to break away.
"I'm really happy about my game, especially this week, and today, I had so much fun. You know, I have so much fun playing with Inbee. She's awesome. She's the best player," she said. "I learned a lot from her. She's very calm. I feel like she makes every putt. I think she didn't miss one putt today."
Michelle Wie had her best result since 2014 finishing T4.
"I can't complain, but right now it stings a little bit. I played hard. Just a couple of putts didn't drop in and I just missed a couple. Just that one hole I missed two short ones. But I played well today," said Wie.
She started the day with back-to-back birdies but couldn't recover from a double-bogey on the 5th and finished even par for a 14-under total, her first double-digit result since 2014.
"I mean, stuff happens. Stuff happens sometimes. Sometimes you just 4-putt and you've just got to carry on with your life," she said of her double bogey. "After that, the next hole, the sixth hole, that putt looked like it was going to go in. And every putt after that, I just felt like it was going to go in. It just didn't drop after that."
Defending champion Ha Na Jang also finished T4 in spite of playing with a hurt ankle on the back nine.
"On the par 3, the 15th, I was hitting 7-iron and just had a little slide on my foot. It's so bad right now, so I don't want to talk about it right now," she said, but clarified her statement, calling her ankle 'fine' when asked again about it.
Round 3 - Michelle Wie back in the leadMarch 04, 2017
Michelle Wie is back in the lead at the HSBC Women's Champions. her 5-under-par 67 put her two shots ahead of Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn and Sung Hyun Park.
"I'm having a lot of fun this week," said Wie. "That was my goal at the beginning of the week, just play as hard as I can and have fun. I've been having some great groups out there and just having a lot of fun."
Wie currently sits at 14-under for the week. It is the first time she has been in double digits since 2014.
"It's fun being in contention. It's fun being in this position. I'm going to go out with the same mind-set that I had today and just go out and play as hard as I can," Wie explained. "There definitely is some butterflies out there, but it's exciting getting that feeling again and being in this position. It's a great feeling. It's really exciting. I just want to go out there and have fun tomorrow and really enjoy it."
Ko matched Wie's 67 with seven birdies marred by two bogeys. Her game has improved throughout the tournament with rounds of 69, 68 and 67.
"The girls are playing great, and every time I look at the screen, somebody is making another putt. It just shows how well the girls are playing and you know how many birdies are actually happening," said Ko of her fellow competitors. "That's what I've been trying to do the past few days, and that's the mind-set I've got to take on to tomorrow, because there are birdies out there. I think I need to just focus on my game. The holes that I can be aggressive on, be aggressive, and the holes where par is a good score, be smart."
Inbee Park started the day in the lead but couldn't sustain it, she dropped into tied fifth place with a 71.
"My ball-striking was consistent, but I just could not hole one putt out there. I holed two long ones, but I couldn't hole anything else. Anything inside five to ten feet today, I think I missed six or seven of them today," said Park. "A little bit disappointing obviously but it's good my ball-striking is still there."
Round 2 - Park back at top of leaderboardMarch 03, 2017
Inbee Park is taking a one shot lead into the weekend in Singapore, currently lying at 10-under par in front of Mi Jung Hur Ariya Jutanugarn and Michelle Wie. Park double-bogeyed the 12th but seven birdies helped her break ahead.
"It's a good round today," said Park. "Obviously I got off to a very hot start. I was able to make some putts early in the round and then I had a little bit of a mistake on No. 12. I had a couple of birdies on the back nine, so I was able to clean up my mess."
Park had a difficult time in 2016, withdrawing from the LPGA Volvik Championship and Kingsmill Championship presented by JTBC as wekk as taking two months off after the Women's PGA Championship. After her surprise win in Rio she didn't come back to the LPGA Tour.
"I just had tough times last year, so the sooner I get back, it's better," Park explained. "I was nervous and excited, because I haven't played competitive golf in a while. To compete in tournament golf it felt like forever. I never took that kind of break in my whole life, so it was just something different."
Round 1 - Wie off to great start in Women's ChampionsMarch 02, 2017
Michelle Wie got off to a great start in Singapore with eight birdies for a 6-under total.
"It was just a steady round. I had fun out there," said Wie. "I had a lot of fun. I just had fun playing."
Wie hasn't won an LPGA event since the LPGA Lotte Championship and U.S. Women's Open in 2014 and said it helped her game to finally play without pain after having to cope with many injuries in recent years.
"It feels good to play without much pain. To go out there and just play some golf and focus on my game rather than trying to finish out rounds," she explained. "I'm very proud of myself today."
Brooke Henderson lies in tied second place with Ariya Jutanugarn, Inbee Park, Mo Martin and Anna Nordqvist. She has had a slow start to the 2017 season with two T21s and a T45 so far but six birdies on Thursday put her in a good position for this weekend.
"I felt like I finally got it going, and two birdies to finish off 17 and 18 really help out a round," explained Henderson. "I feel a lot more calm and relaxed and I felt like good things were going to happen today and I'm happy with a 5-under round."
Defending champion Ha Na Jang is excited to return to Singapore and the HSBC Women’s Champions.
“First time in Singapore, finish top-13 and last year I win, so I’m always happy to stay in Singapore. It’s really good,” Jang said.
In 2016, Jang shot a tournament-low 7-under 65 on Sunday and eagled the 72nd hole to claim her second career LPGA title at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. Jang has since added two more wins at the 2016 Fubon Taiwan LPGA Classic and the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open earlier this season.
“Just really like more big target this year,” Jang said of her goals. “The target is win five time this year.”
Play at the 2017 HSBC Women’s Champions will begin on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. local time.
Inbee Park Ready for Start Number Two of 2017
Inbee Park is coming off a T25 last week at the Honda LPGA Thailand, her first start back on the LPGA Tour since capturing Gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I love coming to Singapore,” Park said. “Obviously I have good memories from a few years ago, and obviously started the season in Thailand and I feel well enough to play again. Everything feels great. I just have to work with my short game and putting a little bit more. So I think I need to get the feel as soon as possible, and yeah, I think as the week goes on, it should get better over the week.”
Players’ Thoughts on the New Sentosa Golf Club
“I just played nine holes yesterday and today. It’s really difficult and really different than last year. Last year we play more (indiscernible) golf course, but year look like more wide and more open, no tree, and there’s so much windy. So really different.”
“I think it’s actually a little bit different to Serapong that we played the last few years. It’s more, I think you need to attack more than Serapong. I think there’s going to be more birdies and better scores here on this golf course, and obviously this golf course is fairly new. But considering that, I think the course is in good condition. Greens are a little bit slower than what we are used to, but I think it may get faster as the week goes on.”
“The golf course is great. The greens are a little firm. Just new greens, but they are rolling very true. The fairways are so tight, the tee boxes are, which I love them, but I can’t take my big divots, though. The course is in amazing shape for us and it’s a great layout. It will definitely be a test.”
Thompson Off to a Hot Start
Lexi Thompson has top-10 finishes in each of her first two starts on the LPGA this season. Thompson will look to build upon that stellar play as she competes at the HSBC Women’s Champions this week.
“I would say I’ve worked extremely hard in the off-season on my short game, especially my putting,” Thompson said. “I definitely something that’s come to help me in my last two events. I struggled a bit last week off the tee with my irons but I scrambled my way to a good score every day. But I made a lot of good putts, so definitely saved me out there.”
Below is where Thompson ranks in short game categories compared to how she finished 2016.
What You Need to Know About the HSBC Women's Champions
• 10 – This is the 10th year of the HSBC Women’s Champions
Quote of the Day
“You know, I really think it’s really different story to mine, Tiger is, because he’s making a lot longer time off than mine, and obviously his injury was a lot more serious than me. I don’t know how he feels but I heard that he had a couple of surgeries, and obviously that is different to just taking the time off. Yeah, I think a few things different, but I think it’s always possible to come back. He’s a talented player.”
Ko Ready for Her Third Event of 2017
Coming off a tie for eighth last week in Thailand, Lydia Ko is ready for her third event of 2017 at the HSBC Women’s Champions.
“Yeah, I struck the ball pretty well in Australia and the ones I did miss, I kind of missed it on the wrong holes,” Ko explained. “I was struggling with the putter, so I wasn’t really able to score. But going into last week, I knew that there were a lot of positives from Australia to take from and that’s the kind of mind-set I tried to take. I ended up getting the first Top-10 finish of the season, so yeah, you know, it’s just been a lot of fun and obviously a lot of changes. But it’s been more exciting rather than getting worried about, is it going to work or is it not.”
Singing Along the Way
Ariya Jutanugarn has been known for her fun demeanor on the golf course between shots.
“I just like do something else, sing a song or something, and until it’s really time to hit the next shot, then I think about that,” Jutanugarn explained. “I have a lot of songs, but I stick with one song. It’s just Thai.”
When asked if she’d sing it Jutanugarn smiled and joked, “Better not.”
Players’ Thoughts on the New Sentosa Golf Club
“I like the course a lot. It’s pretty wide open for me tee shot, so I like it. But the greens are pretty tough. It’s really firm and it’s really hard to aim your shot.”
“The Serapong and Tanjong are two different golf courses. Obviously the Serapong was a really nice golf course but Tanjong I think is more suitable for the average-length LPGA player. I think it’s good.
I think coming into this week, we all were eager to see what this new course was like and I think it’s pretty nice. It is quite different to Serapong. I think we need to focus on where to hit it and go from there.
The greens have a little bit of very subtle undulation, so even though it might not be a very long putt it could break three different ways. So I think the person that normally holes a putt is going to end up on top and I think that’s going to be the case again this week.”
Numbers to Know (2017 Season Thru 3 Events)
• 27.5 – The average age of winners is 27.50
Quote of the Day
“Dustin, he’s a lot stronger, a lot longer than me. But I guess we play a certain-length golf course, and because they are long, they obviously play longer. I think people think that, oh, because guys are so long, they must not be good at something; or because we’re shorter, we must be better at this.
I think to be those top-ranked players, you’ve got to be solid in all aspects of the game. You know how Dustin Johnson has played especially in the past couple of years, I think he has had a PGA TOUR win repetitively for many years. So that just shows how consistently well he’s been playing.
Hopefully in the future, maybe the LPGA and PGA can come together and we can play a game or a tournament together. But I’m a fan of the men’s golf, and I regularly enjoy watching it on TV.”
- Lydia Ko on how her game compares with Dustin Johnson’s