With four events in five weeks in three different countries, the final stretch of the 2022 LPGA Tour season feels more like a ramp up than a wind down to the season’s conclusion with trophies, titles, and lots of Race to the CME Globe points up for grabs.
It all begins Thursday in the Republic of Korea for the third edition of the BMW Ladies Championship where 78 of the top players in the world earned a coveted spot in the limited-field event, competing for $2 million in prize money. With guaranteed cash up for grabs in this no-cut event, players hoping to capture the Money Title at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship can make a leap the standings with a big pay day.
The visit to Oak Valley Country Club is the second since 2019 as the coronavirus pandemic limited playing opportunities and the event was canceled in 2020. Ha Na Jang won the first installment in 2019 and Jin Young Ko captured the second playing in 2021 in a playoff victory over Hee Jeong Lim.
Ko makes a much-anticipated return to defend her title in Korea. This is the first start for the No.1 player in the Rolex Rankings since August when she missed back-to-back cuts for the first time since she joined the LPGA Tour in 2018. Ko has been rehabbing a nagging wrist injury which has lingered since last season.
The defending champion is joined by a stellar field that features seven of the top 10 in the Race to the CME Globe Standings. The top 60 in the standings will punch their ticket to compete in the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship. With guaranteed points available in Korea, players can make much-needed moves to secure their spot in the field. Lydia Ko, who currently sits atop the standings, returns to Korea where she finished in a share of third last season. Minjee Lee at No.2 in the standings, Atthaya Thittikul at No.3, and Jennifer Kupcho at No.5 are also in the field. So are Pajaree Anannarukarn, Kelly Tan, and Jenny Shin who sit on the bubble at Nos.60-62.
Eight players received sponsor invitations to compete at the BMW Ladies Championship, and the list features some of the most prolific champions from Korea who have competed over the last decade on the LPGA Tour, including former world No.1s Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu, and major champions In Kyung Kim and Na Yeon Choi.
Choi announced her retirement from the LPGA Tour on October 5 and will compete for the final time in her home country of Korea at the BMW Ladies Championship. The 2012 U.S. Women’s Open champion won nine times over the course of her career.
Danielle Kang, Leona Maguire, Paula Reto, Andrea Lee, and Jodi Ewart Shadoff are among 14 winners so far this season who are also in the field in Korea and will be chasing a second win on the year along with the $300,000 winner’s check that comes with it.
Following the trip to Korea, players will take a week off before traveling to the TOTO Japan Classic and then return to the United States for back-to-back weeks in Florida at the Pelican Women’s Championship and the CME Group Tour Championship.
There’s plenty to play for as players ramp up to the final four events of the year with titles, trophies, and tons of Race to the CME Globe Points on the line.