Featuring a talented field of elite golfers from around the world including five of the top-10 players in the Rolex Rankings, the 2018 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship is all set for tee-off tomorrow at Ta Shee Golf & Country Club, a spectacular championship course in Taoyuan County redesigned by Robert Trent Jones JR.
Sei Young Kim, Teresa Lu and Sung Hyun Park pose for a group photo with three pro-am tee-off ceremony guests and Deputy Mayor MT Wang of Taoyuan City.
In its 8th edition, the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship, a co-sanctioned event between the LPGA and Taiwan LPGA, is the third leg of the LPGA's annual Asian swing. Rolex Rankings no.1 Sung Hyun Park of Korea will look to expand her lead over no. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, who takes the week off to rest in her hometown. Meanwhile, world no. 3 So Yeon Ryu of Korea also has an outside chance of dethroning Park with a win here this week.
Legislative Yuan Consultant Chun-Yee Lee, Swinging Skirts Golf Foundation Chairman Johnson Wang, and CTBC Chairman Chao-Chin Tung (from L to R) tee off simultaneously in a ceremony at the 1st hole.
Meanwhile, former world no. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand, who seeks to win this prestigious event for the second time, will tee off tomorrow in the final group with local favourite Teresa Lu of Taiwan and defending champion Eun-Hee Ji of Korea at 10:45 AM. After her practice round, Ko said the greens here are "probably one of the smallest greens I've played on. I think driving is going to be key, especially when the greens are so small, just to be on the fairways, they are obviously going to be a lot easier to hold them," said Ko, who finished tied for second last Sunday at the Buick LPGA Shanghai.
"I am so excited to play in front of my hometown fans and hope to keep the trophy here in Taiwan," said Lu, who is making her debut in the tournament. Ji, on the other hand, revealed the victory in Taiwan last year has been a confidence booster for her. "I changed my swing from like two years ago, and that helps a lot. Actually, I'm hitting pretty much a different length than before, so that makes a lot of difference."
After emerging victorious at the Buick LPGA Shanghai, Danielle Kang is sure to have more fans following her in the first group from last. The American will be playing alongside Wei-Ling Hsu of Taiwan and Moriya Jutanugarn, Ariya's sister.
Hsu said she is not too familiar with this golf course as she has played here only two or three times. " You definitely have to hit a good driver, and then I think some of the greens are really tricky because there's a lot of holes (with) like one-side slope... So you have to play with the speed," said Hsu, who has three top-10 finishes so far this season including a tie for fifth place at the U.S. Women's Open.
Yani Tseng, winner of the inaugural LPGA Taiwan Championship back in 2011, will be playing in a threesome with Sei Young Kim of Korea and American Annie Park. Yani said she had practiced four times at Ta Shee Golf & Country Club over the last two months. "I feel comfortable playing here because it's a long course and the fairways are fairly wide, which may work to my advantage," observed Yani.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Sung Hyun Park presents an official tournament cap as gift to Deputy Mayor MT Wang of Taoyuan City.
At the pre-tournament pro-am event today under a mostly sunny sky, Sei Young Kim of Korea teamed up with four amateur guests to card a collective scramble score of 58 and walked away with the first prize-YONEX golf club sets.
Tickets for the 2018 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship are available for purchase on the ibon platform: http://www.sslpgataiwan.com/pages/tickets. To make things easier for fans, free shuttle buses are scheduled to operate between Ta Shee Golf & Country Club and Taipei MRT Yongning Station from Thursday to Sunday. Daily live telecast will also be provided by FTV, FTV News Channel, Hami Video and Chunghwa Telecom MOD. For more information, please visit the official tournament website: http://www.sslpgataiwan.com/?locale=tw