Asia will be hosting some of the finest golf tournaments through 2023. Both the Asian Tour and the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tournaments are holding some exciting rounds on the beautiful greens of some of the finest golf courses in the region.
The Asian Tour and the LPGA are on, and golf tournaments as part of the Asian Tour were held in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and New Zealand in the early months of 2023. International Series Thailand concluded in March. However, the tour enters India in March, followed by Hong Kong, Vietnam and South Korea, before ending in the United Kingdom.
Similarly, the LPGA Tour, one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events for women, is holding 12 of its 34 golf tournaments outside the US. Two of these have already been held in Thailand and Singapore. The other four Asian countries on the LPGA Tour in 2023 are China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
Besides the top tournaments held under Asian Tour and LPGA Tour, several other golf events are set to take place in Asian countries. Some of these, such as Metta Charity Golf and FaithActs Charity Golf Tournament happening here in Singapore, are charity tournaments.
Others, such as LIV Golf’s Singapore tournament and the prestigious Hong Kong Open, which will be held after nearly three years, are professional sporting events. There are also the Women’s Aramco Team Series rounds in Hong Kong and Riyadh, where both professional and amateur golfers participate.
Golf is also one of the sporting programmes at the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, which will be held from 5 to 17 May in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Overall, golf fans in Asia can indeed feel enthusiastic as tournaments are marking a return to magnificent courses in the region after a pandemic-imposed suspension.
Here are the major golf tournaments in Asia in 2023
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Date: 16-19 March
Location: New Delhi, India
The DGC Open will be held at the Lodhi course at the Delhi Golf Club. The 72-hole tournament will witness some of the very best golfers from the world, including the top names in the Asian Tour Order of Merit such as Sadom Kaewkanjana, Gunn Charoenkul, Berry Henson, Suradit Yongcharoenchai and Phachara Khongwatmai.
Icons such as Thaworn Wiratchant, Jyoti Randhawa, Scott Hend and Chapchai Nirat will also be present alongside promising young players such as Yuvraj Sandhu, Viraj Madappa and S Chikkarangappa. A full field of 132 players from 25 countries is expected to participate in the tournament.
The tournament was first held in 2022, which means that the upcoming edition is only it’s second. Yet, the DGC Open immediately became one of the biggest golf tournaments on the Asian Tour. In fact, the prize fund of USD 750,000 (SGD 99594.38) for the 2023 tournament is 50 per cent more than last year.
Golf fans in Thailand will be particularly interested in this tournament because the winner of its inaugural edition, Nitithorn Thippong, will be defending his title in the tournament. Since then, Thippong has gone on to win International Series Singapore and Bangkok Open, on the local Thai Golf Tour, to end 2022 at the fourth rank on the Asian Tour Order of Merit. His biggest challenger could be India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu, who was the runner-up at The DGC Open in 2022.
Image credit: The DGC Open/@TheDGCOpen/Twitter
Date: 23-26 March
Location: Hong Kong
Like the DGC Open, the inaugural World City Championship is part of the Asian Tour. The 2023 edition will be held at the Hong Kong Golf Club (HKGC) in the New Territories region and is the first golf event in the Special Administrative Region (SAR) in 38 months. The last one was the Hong Kong Open, which was held in January 2020 — two months before the pandemic brought the world to a standstill.
The reopening of Hong Kong has made the tournament one of the most eagerly anticipated ones for golf fans. The World City Championship carries prize money of USD 1 million (SGD 1,327,925). It will be played at the Tournament Composite Course at HKGC’s Fanling venue.
Ian Poulter, a former Hong Kong Open winner, and Henrik Stenson, the 2016 Open champion, are among the major names who will headline the World City Championship. Hong Kong’s own Taichi Kho, Matthew Cheung and Leon D’Souza are also reportedly expected to participate.
Image credit: Soybeans – Own work/CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons
Date: 13-16 April
Location: Cam Ranh, Vietnam
International Series Vietnam will be played at the KN Golf Links. The men’s tournament has a prize fund of USD 2,000,000 (SGD 2,655,850) and its field size is expected to be 156.
The Vietnam competition is part of what is known as International Series tournaments within the Asian Tour. The Vietnam edition will be the fourth in the series and will be followed by the last International Series event of the Asian Tour in 2023 at Close House in England’s northeast.
Image credit: KN Golf Links – Cam Ranh/@KNGolfLinks/Facebook
Date: 28-30 April
The Serapong course of the iconic Sentosa Golf Club will play host to the LIV Golf Singapore 2023, the third of the 14 rounds in the LIV Golf League calendar this year.
Former Singapore Open champions Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia will be among the 48 of the world’s finest golfers who will tee off at the outstanding course during the tournament. Among other top stars who would be present are major champions Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson.
The tournament would be one of the most exciting ones, especially because of Sentosa Golf Club’s reputation as one of the best in Asia. In 2022, it was named Asia’s Best Golf Course at the World Golf Awards and named the World’s Best Eco-Friendly Golf Facility for the third consecutive year.
Image credit: Sentosa Golf Club/@SentosaGolfClub/Facebook
Date: 4-7 May
Location: Seongnam, South Korea
The penultimate golf tournament in the Asian Tour in 2023, Maekyung Open will hold its 42nd edition at the Namseoul Country Club in Gyeonggi Province. The golf course was designed by Japanese golf course design icon Seiichi Inoue in 1971 and covers mountainous terrain, making it a challenging turf for players.
Kim Bi-o of South Korea was the winner of the 2022 edition. In fact, South Korean golfers have been winning the tournament since 2005 when Choi Sang-ho took home the title at the age of 50.
It is estimated that the field size at the Maekyung Open will be 144. Though the 2023 prize money is not clear yet, the fund was around one million dollars in the previous edition.
Image credit: EO One Asia Golf Challenge 2017/Facebook
Date: 22-25 June
Location: Cheonan, South Korea
The Korea Open will be the last round of the Asian Tour. It will be played at the Woo Jeong Hills Country Club in Cheonan. The city is located in the South Chungcheong Province and is not too far from Seongnam, which is to the north of Gyeonggi Province. The course was built in 1993 and designed by Perry Dye, the son of architect Pete Dye.
The 2022 edition of the tournament was won by South Korea’s Kim Min-kyu. Usually, the tournament is played with a field size of 144 golfers.
Image credit: Asian Tour/@asiantourgolf/Facebook
Date: 12-15 October
Location: Shanghai, China
The Buick LPGA Shanghai is part of the Ladies Professional Golf Tour (LPGA) tournaments that are played through 2023. Debuting in 2018, its second edition took place in 2019. The tournament has not been held since 2020 because of the pandemic. American golfer Daniella Kang won both editions, which makes her the undisputed defending champion.
The tournament has a total prize fund of USD 2.1 million (SGD 2,788,642). It will be played at the Qizhong Garden Golf Club, which has a par of 72.
Image credit: Qizhong
Date: 19-22 October
Location: South Korea
First held in 2015, BMW Ladies Championship replaced LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship as an LPGA Tour event in 2019. Its third edition as part of the series was held in 2022 after a gap of two years because of the pandemic.
The BMW Ladies Championship has been held in Wonju in the Gangwon Province of the country. The 2022 edition was played at Oak Valley Country Club. The prize purse at the time was USD 2.2 million (SGD 2,921,435). The venue of the 2023 edition is yet to be announced.
Lydia Ko of New Zealand is the defending champion, having become the first non-Asian to win the tournament at the 2022 edition. Ko, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist, is currently the World No.1 in Women’s World Golf Rankings. Though a New Zealander, she was born in Seoul.
Interestingly, the current World No.3 Ko Jin-young of South Korea was the winner of the tournament in 2021. In March 2023, Ko Jin-young successfully defended her HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore.
Image credit: LPGA
Date: 26-29 October
Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan
Although the tournament has been played as an LPGA Tour round since 2011, it has not been held since 2019 because of the pandemic. This makes the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA one of the most-anticipated golf tournaments in Asia.
Like previous editions, the venue of the 2023 tournament is Miramar Golf Country Club — a 36-hole golf facility designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1994. The prize fund is set to be USD 2.2 million (SGD 2,921,435).
Current World No.2 and 2020 Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Nelly Korda is the reigning champion. Korda was only 20 years old when she first won the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA. She again won the tournament the following year and is, therefore, the defending champion. Lydia Ko is also a former Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA champion, having won it in 2015 at age 18.
Image credit: TLPGA
Date: 2-5 November
Location: Omitama, Japan
The golf tournament is the last of the Asian rounds on the LPGA calendar before it returns to the US. It is co-sanctioned by both LPGA and Japan Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association (JLPGA).
The tournament was first held in 1973. The LPGA did not include the tournament in its calendar in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. On both occasions, the Toto Japan Classic was held as a JLPGA-sanctioned tour only. It returned as part of the LPGA in 2022 when the tournament was won by Gemma Dryburgh of Scotland.
The 2023 edition is to be held at the Minori course of the Taiheiyo Club in Omitama of Ibaraki Prefecture. The course has a par of 72, and the total prize fund of the tournament will be USD 2 million (SGD 2,655,850).
Image credit: Taiheiyo Club
This article first appeared here.
(Hero image credits: Taiheiyo Club; Feature image credits: The DGC Open/@TheDGCOpen/Twitter)