It is their National open which they can finally call their own- one which will also usher in a new chapter in the history books of Singapore’s women golf.
For the first time, local professionals and top amateurs now have the opportunity to tee up against some of the world’s best players in their own backyard.
The launch of the inaugural Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open at the Tanah Merah Country Club this week has indeed heralded a new beginning for women’s golf in the Lion City.
Backed by one of South Korea’s most prominent financial banking institutions, the prestigious tournament not only offers a lucrative prize purse of S$1.1 million for the players but also a chance for the wider community to soak in top-quality golfing action by the women in the strong field.
For Singapore’s top professional Koh Sock Hwee, it will also be an opportunity for the tournament- also the curtain-raiser of the Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour’s 2023 season, to boost the development and awareness of women’s golf in her country.
“For many years now, it has always been the men’s Singapore Open which has always attracted a huge crowd. With the inception of a Women’s open, it will definitely open the doors to more young female golfers picking up the sport because they now have a goal to work towards – to play in their own national open,” said Koh.
Aloysa Atienza, 24, the reigning SEA Games Individual Silver Medallist, has also welcomed the timely staging of the national women’s Open.
“The last few years, we’ve had an LPGA Tour event here and there’s always a lot of the junior girls coming down to watch the players. Having the SWO gives these girls another event to watch and be inspired, rather than just seeing them on TV,” said Atienza.
“It’s a different experience. I’m fortunate to have earned my spot this year and I’m sure it will also drive the top female golfers in Singapore to get better in order to get a spot in future editions.”
The Tampines course at Tanah Merah Country Club will be the battleground for the 102 players as they set their sights on being the first to ink their name in the roll of honour.
Headlined by Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul, who reached the number one spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking for the first time in her career in October, the field also features a stellar cast that includes American Yalimi Noh, South Korean trio comprising former world number one Jiyai Shin, Min-ji Park and Mi Jeong Jeon and Philippines’ Princess Mary Superal, who emerged victorious at the recent Simone Asia-Pacific Cup in Indonesia.
The tournament will also be the season-opening event on the burgeoning Ladies Asian Tour (LAT) Series. In 2022, the DB Group 36th Korea Women’s Open in June, Simone Asia-Pacific Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia in August and the Hana Financial Group Championship, a major event of the KLPGA Tour in September were part of the series.
Operated by Asia Golf Leaders Forum (AGLF), the LAT Series is a Korean non-profit organisation that aspires to further promote women’s golf in Asia and unite Asian countries through the new circuit launched back in 2020.