Hana Financial Group has confirmed that the Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Hana Financial Group (HFG) Championship 2020 will be held at the Sky72 Ocean Course on Yeongjong Island in Incheon, South Korea from November 5-8, 2020. This will be the first tournament of the new Ladies Asian Tour (LAT) series organized by the Asian Golf Leaders Forum (AGLF).
AGLF was officially launched in January 2020 to jumpstart Asian women’s golf. The KLPGA HFG Championship 2020 has the largest KLPGA total purse of KRW 1.5 billion (US$1.3million) and it will be aired on SBS Golf from November 5-8, 2020 in South Korea.
The tournament was originally scheduled for September 2020 but was postponed due to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It will now be held this week at Sky72 without spectators at the golf course and with all safety precautions enforced.
The organizing committee of HFG Championship has decided to proceed with the tournament in this format to provide more playing opportunities to Korean players in the KLPGA to make up for the number of domestic tournaments that have been cancelled due to the pandemic. Some top-ranked players who are rarely seen in the KLPGA Tours will attend.
Among the 96 players, 13 major champions in the past four years will compete. The roster includes the current world number 1 Jin Young Ko, LPGA Tour Players So Yeon Ryu, Jeong Eun Lee and Hyo Joo Kim.
Other KLPGA players confirmed to be playing are 2019 Hana Financial Group Championship winner Ha Na Jang, Ji Hyun Kim, Hye Rim Kim, Chae Yoon Park, Shi Hyun Ahn, Ji Hyun Oh, Da Hyun Lee, Seung Hyun Lee, Hee Jeong Lim, Su Yeon Jang and Hye Jin Choi. Past winners Jin Joo Hong and Na Yeon Choi will also be playing.
The HFG decided to prioritize players’ health above all. Hence, invitations to international players were not extended after taking into consideration the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, international travel restrictions and quarantine regulations.
As a result, overseas-based HFG-sponsored players like Rolex World Ranking number 5 Minjee Lee, former Rolex World Ranking Lydia Ko, rising star Yealimi Noh and Patty Tavatanakit will not be playing in the HFG Championship. This is so that they can remain in the LPGA tour to accumulate World Ranking points for the 2021 Olympics.
Since 2006, the HFG has been a strong supporter of Asian women’s golf. With its mission to promote Asian women’s golf, HFG will also be holding the inaugural Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open in 2021, which will be co-sanctioned by the KLPGA and the Singapore Golf Association.
The LAT series is expected to have at least six events in 2021 across Asian countries. The Singapore Women’s Open will be part of the 2021 season of LAT series.
AGLF is supported by R&A and is working to collaborate with other Asian countries. Tournaments confirmed to be joining the LAT series in 2021 include the Korean Women’s Open, sanctioned by the Korean Golf Association, as well as KLPGA’s Asian co-sanctioned events in China, Taiwan and Vietnam.