The Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour’s Sangsangin-Korea Economic TV Open 2023, with a total prize fund of 1.2 billion won, will kick off for the first time next month at Lakewood CC Lake Course in Yangju, Gyeonggi Province (water and flower paths – pictured) for four days starting on the 19th. In terms of total prize money, it is a ‘major’ tournament on par with the DB Group Korea Women’s Open, Hite Jinro Championship and KB Financial Star Championship. The first prize is 216 million won, and the runner-up prize is 132 million won, which is comparable to most tournaments. As it is held late in the season, it is expected to be a ‘battleground’ for the major title race this year.
Major title competition barometer
With a total of 108 competitors, the field of players challenging to become the first champion of the tournament is also colorful. By the 19th, all of the top players who were eligible to compete have announced their intentions. In addition to Lee Ye-won (20), who is ranked first in the prize money ranking (995.54 million won), second-place Park Ji-young (27), third-place Im Jin-hee (25), fourth-place Park Min-ji (25), and fifth-place Park Hyun-kyung (23), who are trailing by about 70 million won, will also compete in the tournament. With a prize pool of more than 200 million won, the outcome of the tournament is expected to shake up the money list.
For Lee, it’s a chance to break the record for the most prize money won in a single season. The previous record was set by Park Min-ji last year with $1.5217 billion. As of Sept. 19, Lee would need to earn around $530 million in the remaining eight tournaments, including this one, to set the new record. To do so, he’ll need to win this tournament, as well as the big-prize Hana Financial Group Championship.
This could be the springboard for Park Ji-young, who is having a “career-high season” with three wins this season, including a major at the KB Financial Star Championship. Park also has 440 points in the Grand Prize standings, trailing only Lee Ye-won, who has 448. With three wins under her belt, she has a chance to take the lead in the multi-winner race.
Less than an hour from Seoul, easily accessible
Lakewood, home of the Sangsangin-Korea Economic TV Open 2023, is considered the birthplace of Korean women’s golf. It was at Lakewood (then Royal CC) that the first women’s professional golf player selection tournament was held in May 1978. Lakewood has since hosted several KLPGA Tour events, contributing to the development of women’s golf in Korea. It has successfully hosted major events such as the KB Financial Star Championship (2016) and the KLPGA Championship (2018, 2022 and 2023), maintaining its status as the leading tournament course in Korea.안전놀이터
The Sangsangin-Korea Economic TV Open will be held on the Lake Course next to the Wood Course, which is the setting for the KLPGA Championship. The Lake Course is also recognized as a tournament course, having hosted the YTN Volvik Women’s Open in 2015. With a total length of 6404 meters, the Lake Course is slightly shorter than the Wood Course (6470 meters), but as its name suggests, it is a tricky course to play as you have to avoid the ponds dotted around the course. Unlike the Wood Course, which has many dogleg holes, the Lake Course has many straight holes, making it a “distance war” for long hitters.
Lakewood CC is known for its accessibility, as it can be reached in less than an hour from all parts of Seoul. It’s less than 30 minutes from Gangdong and 40-50 minutes from the Gangnam and Gangseo areas.