Korea the site of Pak's farewell tournament
The LPGA Tour is spending the week on the Korean peninsula for the KEB Hana Bank Championship, and for a good portion of the field, this tournament will feel like home.
There are 32 Korean players in the field of 78 that will tee it up at the SKY72 Golf and Resort in Incheon, South Korea. Twelve of those 78 are members of the KLPGA.
It's no secret, of course, that Korean players have been a dominant force on the LPGA Tour over most of the past two decades. And that trend shows no sign of changing. Presently there are 34 Korean players on the LPGA Tour, 27 of whom have won a tournament.
One of them is Se Ri Pak, who is bringing down the curtain on her Hall of Fame career this week. This tournament will be the last in a career that has seen Pak win 25 LPGA events (including five majors) and change the face of women's golf forever.
"It really hasn't hit me yet that I'm sitting here ... announcing my retirement," she said. "I know we have a couple more days to go here, and I'm not even sure that it's going to hit me once we get through this tournament. But I've been thinking about retiring probably the last three years or so."
American Lexi Thompson comes into the event as the defending champion after finishing 72 holes here a year ago at 15-under-par 273.
"It's always nice to come back to Korea and play in front of the amazing fans here," she said. "and this golf course is in amazing shape for us again this year, so I'm really looking forward to the week."
The field this week is a strong one, with nine of the top 10 players in the world on hand. The only top-10 player missing is Olympic gold medalist Inbee Park of South Korea. But the five other Korean players in the top 10 are playing, including In Gee Chun (third), Sei Young Kim (sixth), Ha Na Jang (eighth), Sung Hyun Park (ninth), and Amy Yang (10th). World No. 1 Lydia Ko, who was born in Korea but now calls New Zealand home, is also on hand.
The field also includes Jodi Ewart-Shadoff (England), Suzann Pettersen (Norway), and Americans Gerina Piller and Brittany Lang.