SINGAPORE – Twice a winner in Singapore, Park In-bee put herself in solid position for a hat-trick of wins at the Sentosa Golf Club after a stunning eight-under 64 opening round on Thursday (April 29) at the HSBC Women’s World Championship.
The South Korean world No. 2, who triumphed here in 2015 and 2017, rolled in eight birdies on her bogey-free scorecard. The reigning Olympic champion, who is seeking to defend her gold medal at the Tokyo Games, is one shot clear of compatriot Park Hee-young at the New Tanjong Course.
In-bee, 32, has her husband and coach Nam Gi-hyeob on her bag this week. She said: “Today was a great putting day. I gave myself lots of opportunities for birdies and made a lot of them.
“The course is playing a little longer than I’ve experienced but the greens are in great condition. It’s very scorable, you just have to hit it close and make those putts.”
A further two strokes back at the US$1.6 million (S$2.1 million) tournament are five players – Germans Sophia Popov, Caroline Masson, Lin Xiyu of China and Koreans Ryu So-yeon and Kim Hyo-joo.
New Zealand star and fan favourite Lydia Ko signed for a 69 while world No. 1 Ko Jin-young had an up-and-down day and ended with a 71.
Singapore’s Amanda Tan, who received a sponsor invite, shot a 76.
Defending champion Park Sung-hyun had a disastrous day, shooting a 78 to finish last in the 69-player field.
The tournament was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
This term, it is the first event on any international golf tour to take place in Asia since the men-only Asian Tour’s Malaysian Open in March last year. Daily attendances this week are capped at 250 fans, all corporate guests.
The LPGA Tour’s last event on Asian soil, a major market for the women’s professional circuit given the number of top players from the continent, was the Toto Japan Classic in November 2019.