Lydia Ko has teed off in the first round of the KLPGA Tour’s Hana Financial Group Championship at Pocheon Adonis Country Club in Pocheon, Gyeonggi.
The World No. 6 Ko also joins Australian Minjee Lee at Pocheon Adonis. Ko has one LPGA win this season after winning the Lotte Championship in April, cutting a winless streak of over two years.
Ko is the only female two-time Olympic medalist in history, with a silver medal from the Rio Games and a bronze from Tokyo.
While Ko’s appearance threatens the field as she is the highest-ranked golfer, other KLPGA favourites like Park Min-ji and Jang Ha-na promise some serious contention for the prize.
The Hana Championship is the 23rd of the 32 KLPGA tournaments this season. As the tournament has a big prize pot, the result could cause a major shift in the Tour’s year-long rankings.
Even though the tournament will once again be played on an empty golf course due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the field is still just as competitive as previous years.
Minjee Lee brings her A-game to the KLPGA Tour after winning her first LPGA major this July at the Amundi Evian Championship in France. She overcame a seven-shot deficit on the final round to stretch the game into a sudden-death playoff against Lee Jeong-eun to clinch her maiden major title.
Minjee Lee headed right to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games to represent Australia, where she finished tied for 29th and became a two-time Olympian.
The 25-year-old has been playing on the LPGA Tour since 2015. She has a total of seven LPGA titles, winning one title each in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021. She currently sits at ninth on the Rolex world rankings.
Ko teed off alongside Jang and Park Hyun-Kyung at 3pm on Thursday.