Date: February 21, 2013
Author: Bruce Young /

LPGA Tour heads to Thailand

Following its highly successful opening tournament of the season last week in Canberra, the LPGA Tour moves to Thailand this week for the Honda LPGA Thailand event in Chonburi east of Bangkok. The defending champion will be Yani Tseng and following her brilliant final surge last Sunday to finish runner-up to Jiyai Shin at the Australian Women’s Open the chances of her successfully defending are very good. Tseng also won in 2011 so everything points to her winning for the first time in 11 months. Jiyai Shin only moved to number six in the world following her great win last week but she is rapidly becoming the player she once was and having finished third behind Tseng last year she is very well placed for another big week. World number two and three, Na Yeon Choi and Suzann Pettersen both add strength to this week s field after not playing in Australia last week. Pettersen is a previous winner and regular placegetter in the event. Stacy Lewis was disappointing last week but she did finish 15th which was reasonable enough and the four time winner in 2012 will be soon in contention. While Lydia Ko carried much of the hype for last week s event this week it will be Thai sisters Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn who will dominate much of the pre event publicity. Ariya finished runner-up at the recent Volvik Ladies Masters on the Gold Coast and Moriya was a very impressive 4th in Canberra last week after finishing as the joint medallist at Tour School last year. Ariya led the qualifiers at the Ladies European Tour Q School and both are expected to be future stars of the female game. Spanish golfer Carlota Ciganda finished strongly in Canberra in her first LPGA Tour event as a cardholder and further improvement is expected. She is a former British Amateur Champion who appears to be headed for the elite of the game having won twice in 2012, led the LET Money list and being named Rookie of the Year. The Australians in the field are Karrie Webb and Katherine Hull Kirk. New Zealander Lydia Ko is in Thailand after her near miss last week. She will play this week and next week as a celebrity at the New Zealand PGA Championship before returning to Auckland for school work then heading to the US to play in events such as the Kraft Nabisco.