The world’s best golfers were in buoyant mood on March 2, ahead of the 14th edition of the HSBC Women’s World Championship which tees off at Sentosa Golf Club on March 3, clearly relishing in the Tour’s return to one of its favourite destinations.
“Today I failed. I played awful today.” Thankfully, Danielle Kang followed those words with a big laugh at her press conference ahead of the HSBC Women’s World Championship. Ever the perfectionist, it doesn’t matter that today’s difficulties came during a pro-am round. Kang works to excel every day, not just in competition.
“It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a Tuesday or a Saturday at this point,” said Kang, who played for the fourth time with a group of HSBC executives that she called one of her favourite pro-am groups. “I still need to do what I need to do, whether it’s to execute the shot that’s in front of me, be able to feel what I need to feel.”
Kang has already notched a victory in 2022, following a win at the season-opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions with a runner-up finish at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio. Her next month included practice sessions with coaches Butch Harmon and Pat Goss, chats with mental coach Micah Schnurstein, and nights out with friends in Las Vegas, including a visit to Bruno Mars’ new show “Silk Sonic.”
Now in Singapore for the eighth time, Kang is enjoying every second in the Lion City.
“Seeing different things, eating different foods, getting out of our comfort zone and traveling to one of my favourite cities in the world. I love the diversity in this country. I went to the cloud forest. I walked around the streets. I went to eat Peking duck. I’m just outside. I love it,” said the world No.4 from the U.S.
FRESH JIN YOUNG KO READY FOR 2022 CHALLENGE
In her last 10 starts, Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko has recorded nine top-10 finishes. Her five victories in that span included taking home a $1.5 million paycheck at the 2021 CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida.
That big payday in November was the last time Ko played in a competitive event. She put her golf bag away for nearly six weeks back home in Korea, making good on a promise she made following her win in Florida. “I spent time with my family and friends and my dog as well. And I watched Netflix in my bed with potato chips,” she said, having joked after her win that she just planned to relax in the off-season.
Ko picked the clubs back up for a month of training in Palm Springs, focusing on adjusting her backswing and rehabbing a wrist injury that lingered throughout the 2021 season. Already the owner of the longest-known bogey-free streak in golf history (114 holes in 2019), Ko comes to Singapore with another streak on the line. She has hit 63 consecutive greens in regulation, the longest recorded streak in LPGA and PGA Tour history.
Like Kang, she also took the opportunity to catch up with friends in Singapore before the serious business starts tomorrow.
“My friends live here, so I visited them and went out to have chili and black pepper crab in a restaurant last night, a bamboo dish and fish. I was really full, so I couldn’t sleep well till this morning!” joked the South Korean.
FROM FREEZING SNOW TO TROPICAL HUMIDITY, BROOKE HENDERSON FEELING THE ELEMENTS
The high on Thursday in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, is expected to be 14 degrees. Singapore’s high? 90 degrees. Just a bit of difference for Canada’s favourite daughter Brooke Henderson.
“It was a lot of fun to be back home in the snow,” said Henderson, who spent three days visiting family in her hometown in mid-February. “I forgot how cold it is there in the wintertime.”
While Canada will always be home, Henderson now makes her full-time residence in South Florida, which sometimes rivals Singapore for heat and humidity. She spent two weeks back in the warmth and sunshine before taking an 18.5-hour flight to Singapore.
“Even that long plane ride, I was just really pumped to be back here,” said Henderson, who is competing in her fifth HSBC Women’s World Championship. “Sometimes I’d just tap Britt (Henderson, her sister and caddie) on the shoulder, and we’d look around and appreciate the beauty, and we’re like we’re finally here again.”
Henderson has never finished lower than 15th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship. After two rounds on the New Tanjong Course, she said the course is playing slightly different than the last time she competed.
“I feel it’s playing a little bit longer, and the course has maybe matured a little bit more over the last few years. The rough’s a little bit longer and has grown in some areas. The trees seemed taller and bushier,” said Henderson. “So it changed the way the course looks a little bit, but still a great feel to it. It will definitely be a challenge over the next few days. Also, as you mentioned, there’s a lot of birdie opportunities. So hopefully I’ll be able to capitalize on those.”
KOH IN RELAXED MOOD AHEADOF FOURTH OUTING AT ‘ASIA’S MAJOR’
Local fans will be willing Singapore No. 2 Sock Hwee Koh on as she makes her first appearance in the championship since 2016. Playing at her home club, the 32-year-old is clearly drawing on the experience she has gained from playing professional golf as she heads into her biggest tournament of the year.
“Getting that spot in the National Qualifier is nice because it’s like, whatever you work hard for, kind of pays off, but that’s only the start.
“In the last few years of competing as a professional and playing in this event for the fourth time this year, I’m not as nervous as I was the last two editions. I really can’t wait to tee off tomorrow. Preparations have been going well.
“Just really looking forward to it. I just want to hit every shot, be happy about it, and if it’s not good, just move on and find a ball and hit again.”
Partners of the 2022 HSBC Women’s World Championship are: Singapore Tourism Board, Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore Airlines, Lexus, Rolex, Hilton Singapore Orchard, Aon, Cisco Webex, Panasonic, ECCO Golf, Epson, OSIM, Under Armour, COBRA Golf, Ice Mountain, PengWine, TikTok, SONY, Titleist, The Glenrothes and 100PLUS.
For more information on the HSBC Women’s World Championship and all the latest news, please visit the tournament website at https://www.hsbcgolf.com/