Defending champion Jessica Korda has been forced to withdraw from the upcoming US$1.6 million LPGA Thailand, the country’s richest golf event.
The world No 12 beat Thai No 2 Moriya Jutanugarn and 2016 champion Lexi Thompson of the US by four strokes when she landed her maiden LPGA title last year.
However Korda, daughter of Czech tennis great and former Australian Open champion Petr Korda, has withdrawn from the tournament as she still not 100 per cent fit since sustaining a wrist injury last year.
Nine out of the world’s top 10 will be in the field at Siam Country Club, Pattaya, including world No 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, No 2 Sung Hyun Park of South Korea, No 3 So Yeon Ryu of South Korea and No 5 Thompson. The only absentee is 2013 winner Park Inbee, the world No 4.
The event will feature 70 female golfers, including 57 professionals from the 2019 LPGA Priority List, three winners from the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open and the 2019 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, the winner of 2019 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions and nine invited players.
The tournament will be played from February 21 to 14.
A total of eight Thais will be lining up: Ariya, her older sister and last year’s runner-up Moriya, 2018 British Open runner-up Pornanong Phatlum, one-time LPGA winner Thidapa Suwannapura, teenage prodigy Atthaya Thitikul, Pajaree Anannarukarn, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras and Benyapa Niphatsophon, the winner of the Honda LPGA Thailand National Qualifiers. All will be striving to become the first local player to hold the trophy.