Seven-time major winner and Olympic champion Inbee Park returns to action this week for the newly renamed HSBC Women's World Championship as she attempts to attempt her title at 'Asia's Major.'
Having had to sit out much of last season with a back injury, the Korean superstar will be making her first start since the Ricoh Women's British Open last August. Nonetheless, the defending champion will remain among the favourites for the title, having made quite a habit of winning top events after returning from long layoffs, including at the Rio Olympic Games two years ago where she made a triumphant return from a long-term wrist injury.
She will be buoyed by an 'incredible' experience at the Winter Olympics in her homeland, Korea, earlier this month, where she was selected to carry the Olympic torch at the Opening Ceremony. She confessed at the press conference yesterday that she was more nervous about tripping in front of millions of people than she ever gets on the golf course.
Park said: “Singapore obviously holds incredible memories for me having won here last year. I love the new name of HSBC Women’s World Championship because it demonstrates what everyone in women’s golf has known for years, that this is one of the very best tournaments in the world and features the best of the best going head-to-head.”
The tournament, which gets underway at Sentosa Golf Club tomorrow, will also see Lexi Thompson and Shanshan Feng go head to head for the World No.1 spot, with just thousands of a point separating the pair at the top of the rankings.
If Feng is concerned about the battle for the number one spot, she certainly hasn't shown it so far this week, with the Chinese player admitting that she spent the ten weeks following her rise to the top spot at the season-ending CME Championship sleeping and eating.
Don't let that fool you. She has already recorded two top-five finishes in her first two starts this season.
Boasting 19 of the top 20 ranked golfers in the world, a combined haul of 177 LPGA Tour wins – including 29 majors – and all five major winners from last year, the tournament is not short of star power.
England's Charley Hull, Georgia Hall and Jodi Ewart Shadoff are also in the field.
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