Twin Doves Golf Club located in Binh Duong Province, northern Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Orange Engineering, a leading golf course design company, took charge of the design and is considered the most Korean-style golf course in Vietnam. However, the Twin Doves course is not Korean. It contains the characteristics of Vietnamese golf courses. Calm yet challenging. Gentle hills and winding curves in their natural state flow throughout the course, and streams crossing the fairways are placed here and there. Bunkers around the fairways and greens lurk with proper traps, and it’s embarrassing to fall into the tough, tangled rough. The greens are steep and fast and tricky. In a word, it is a highly challenging course that requires accurate shots and careful concentration on the greens.
The Korea Women’s Professional Golf 스포츠토토 (KLPGA) Tour PLK Pacific Rings Korea Championship will be held here for three days from the 16th. It is the last KLPGA tour event to be held this year and the second one following the opening game in Singapore in the 2023 season. The total prize money is 700 million won and the winning prize is 126 million won. The 2022 season prize money king Min-ji Park, grand prize winner Kim Su-ji, and last week’s winner Park Ji-young will not attend, but the competition among players to reap the beauty of the end is hot. Last week at the Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open was canceled due to bad weather on the last day, and unfortunately runner-up Park Hyun-kyung and Lee So-young, as well as Lim Hee-jung, Lee So-mi, and Jang Ha-na, etc. Ahn So-hyun, who returns to the first part of the tour, also draws attention.
The KLPGA tour will enter a three-month break after this tournament. Athletes who are about to take a break from winter training are bound to have a different resolution for this year-end event. When asked about the predicted performance on the 15th, ahead of the opening of the tournament, Park Hyun-kyung gave a witty answer, saying, “I’m doing better than last week.” The only better result than runner-up is winning. Jang Ha-na, who suffered greatly from poor results this year, also vowed, “In this competition, regardless of the performance, I will go to the final swing check.”
Players who attended the media day the day before agreed that the strategy to become a winner on this course was an ‘accurate shot.’ Park Hyun-gyeong said, “It’s difficult to fall into the rough, so you have to keep the fairway well, so an accurate iron shot will be effective.” “Vietnam needs accurate shots, so iron shots are important, and we try to make a lot of uphill putts depending on the pin position,” he revealed the course strategy slightly.
Jang Ha-na, who had the experience of winning the 2018 Korea Investment & Securities Championship on this course, added a more detailed explanation. Jang Ha-na said, “This course is so difficult. It’s similar to the Bermuda grass, so if you go into the rough, you feel buried in the grass, so if you hit it thin or thick, the distance will be shorter than expected.” Lee Ga-young also emphasized, “Vietnam has a steep green slope, so you have to look at the grain when putting, and you have to keep the fairway because the rough feels tangled.” The hot weather in Vietnam is also an enemy that plagues the players. Lee So-mi said, “This course requires good shots and putts to get good results, so conditioning in this hot weather is the most important thing.”
In the first round of the tournament, Park Hyeon-gyeong tied for 3rd place with a 5-under par, and Lee So-mi tied for 5th place with a 4-under par, rising to the top and adapting to the course right away. However, Lim Hee-jung, who was considered a candidate for the championship, caught 4 birdies, but rode a roller coaster with 3 bogeys and tied for 32nd place with 1 under par. ran into a crisis Lee Ga-young also tied for 52nd with a 1-over par. Ahn So-hyun, who returned to the first part tour after three years, also made a pleasant start with three birdies in a row at the beginning of the round, but then lost seven strokes and fell to a tie for 82nd place with a four-over par. Amateur golfer Kwak Ye-bin realized the wall of a professional with a whopping 17 over par without catching a single birdie, and heard the high blow of missing the cut in one day according to the so-called ’88 stroke rule’.
On the other hand, the rebellion of the 2nd year rookies stood out. Ko Ji-woo, 2nd in the Rookie of the Year race, and Madasom, 3rd, both tied for the lead at 6 under par, showing that they had fully adapted to the local course in Vietnam. Madasom, who drove 6 birdies with no-bogey play, was not satisfied with the short game, but said, “There was a lot of undulation on the green, so I tried to send it to a place where I could make an uphill putt as much as possible when I took an iron shot. “You will need a stable shot to minimize mistakes,” he said.
Go Ji-woo, who wielded a hard hit with 7 birdies and 1 bogey, also cited strategic course strategy as the reason for his good performance on the first day. Ko Ji-woo said, “The remaining distance after the tee shot is 120 to 130m, which I like, so I think this part worked well for me.”