In Hong Kong, Jin Jin Ko and Lilia Bu are engaged in ego conflict
Women’s golf’s world No. 1 Lilia Boo (26-USA) and No. 3 Jin Young Ko (28) are about to switch places and battle it out for pride. Their common ground is the European Ladies European Tour (LET) Aramco Team Series in Asia. The 84-player field kicks off on June 6 at the Hong Kong Golf Club (par 73-6511) in Sheung Shui, Hong Kong.
It’s been an exciting time for women’s golf this season. It hasn’t even been a year yet, and the face of the world No. 1 has been changing. From Lydia Ko (26-New Zealand), who took the throne late last year, to Nelly Koda (25-U.S.), to Jin Young Ko, Lilia Bu and Yin Lun (21-China), it’s now Lilia Bu leading the way again.
The names of the protagonists keep changing, but the general trend remains the same. It is the dominance of Asian or Asian-American players. Jin Jin Ko, who holds the record for the longest reign at No. 1 in history, Lydia Ko, who moved from South Korea to New Zealand as a child, and In Ling, who grew up in China, all have Asian roots. American Lilia Vu also has Vietnamese heritage. Her maternal grandfather and mother were “boat people” who risked their lives to escape to the United States after the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s. In addition, 온라인카지노 Thai-French Celine Boutier (30), who won the Evian Championship this year, and Australian expatriates Lee Min-ji (27) and Kim Hyo-joo (28) are leading the Asian surge with world rankings of 5-7.
The Hong Kong event will also feature a number of Asian powerhouses. While Goh and Lilia Vu are the local favorites, other dark horses from China include World No. 12 Lin Shiyu (21) and Chinese-American Rose Chang (20).
LET, which has made a name for itself in Asia, got a boost late last year when it partnered with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund (PIF). The organization received a significant investment from the PIF to increase the total prize fund for various events, and also created five tournaments called the Aramco Team Series to attract world-class players. The PIF, which has already launched LIV Golf, reportedly offers hefty invitation fees to stars in the top 20 of the women’s golf world rankings.
The tournament is also a precursor to the LPGA Tour’s Asian Swing. The LPGA Tour begins its Asian swing on Dec. 12. First, it will host the Buick LPGA Shanghai in Shanghai, China, before traveling to South Korea on the 19th for the BMW Ladies Championship at Seowon Hills in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. From there, it’s on to Malaysia and Japan before heading back to the United States to wrap up the season. Most of the players in Hong Kong will also be competing shot-for-shot on the Asian swing.
“There are a lot of great Asian and Asian-American players in this tournament, including Lilia Bu, Rose Chang and Lin Xiu. I’ve already seen their skills on the LPGA Tour, but I’m still very excited to play in Asia.”
“As time goes on, I’m seeing the growth of Asian players. It’s true that there are more targets to watch out for, but I also think there are more people to grow with. Starting with this tournament, the LPGA Tour Asian Swing will continue to be held, and I will definitely share good news with Korean golf fans.”