Our expert golf tipster Jamie Worsley struck gold again at the weekend, picking up another winner in the LPGA courtesy of Angel Yin at 40/1. Next up, it’s the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea. Can he land another winner from his four selections?

BMW Ladies Championship Tips

  • 3 pts Nelly Korda each way (1/4 – 5 places) – 14/1 
  • 1 pt A Lim Kim each way (1/4 – 5 places) – 45/1 
  • 1 pt Esther Henseleit each way (1/4 – 5 places) – 90/1 
  • 1 pt Patty Tavatanakit each way (1/4 – 5 places) – 90/1

Flying high on confidence after an impressive Solheim Cup display, Angel Yin finally scored her first LPGA title with a playoff victory over world #1, Lilia Vu, in the Buick LPGA Shanghai last week; handing us a 40/1 winner in the process.

The LPGA’s tour around Asia continues on to South Korea this week, for the BMW Ladies Championship at Seowon Hills Country Club.

Tournament History

The BMW Ladies Championship was first staged in 2015 on the KLPGA (Korean LPGA) and ran until 2017. After an absence from that tour in 2018, the LPGA stepped in to co-sanction the tournament in 2019 – an event won by Ha-na Jang – and took over full responsibility for the event last year.

The tournament was cancelled due to covid in 2020, with Jin Young Ko – who won this title twice pre-LPGA, in 2016 and 2017 – winning upon its return in 2021.

New Zealander, Lydia Ko took home the title last year, with a first LPGA win in the country of her birth. She returns to defend this week against a high-class field of challengers.

The Course

The first two editions of this event took place at LPGA International Busan until it was switched to Oak Valley Country Club last year. Another course change this year will see the tournament staged at Seowon Hills Country Club for the first time.

A nine-hole course was first opened here in 2004, before a further eighteen holes were added in 2012. The venue is split into three nine-hole courses, with the West Course playing as the front nine this week and the South Course playing as the back nine. Both courses were renovated in 2016 by David Dale, with the aim of eventually hosting the LPGA’s best.

The course is a par 72, measuring 6680 yards; comprising of ten par 4s (351-414 yards), four par 5s (507-550 yards) and four par 3s (140-187 yards).

As the name suggests, the course is very hilly, with elevation changes throughout. Despite being tree-lined, it is pretty open and many holes are placed on a plateau, with severe drop-offs at the side of fairways and greens. There is a lack of particularly troublesome rough, which may play into the hands of the bigger hitters.

The sloping fairways are relatively generous, though are protected by strategic bunkering, which cuts into many and makes the landing areas smaller. Uneven lies will likely be common and makes approaches into the elevated bentgrass greens that bit more challenging. Greens which are large, undulating and speedy; protected by a plethora of run-offs and false fronts.

Water is in-play on eight holes, evenly split between both nines and comes into play equally aside the fairways and in the vicinity of the greens.

The course has a good balance, with a set of relatively long par 5s, including two at or close to 550 yards; the par 3s have some of largest, though most demanding green complexes on the course; whilst the par 4s will give up plenty of birdie chances if hitting the ball well. However, with cool temperatures and somewhat strong winds over the week, conditions should make things interesting for the players.

The Stats

Key Stats:

  • SG: Approach
  • SG: Off-the-Tee
  • Driving Distance
  • Par 5 Scoring

There’s an element of guesswork attached to working out how Seowon Hills will play this week but I’m going to side with strong ball-strikers.

I think precise approach play into these large, sloping greens will be particularly key. They will have to deal with issues such as uneven lies and the elevation changes will require a good level of distance control into greens that will not just be important to find, but on which it will be a necessity to hit the correct spots to limit potential three-putts.

I’m also keen to side with the higher-class, longer drivers in the field. Though the strategic bunkers need to be avoided, the light rough should see these players able to take driver plenty around here and they’re also best equipped to take advantage of the scoring opportunities on the par 5s.

Correlating Events

This week’s course has a lot in common with last week’s Buick LPGA Shanghai host, Qizhong Garden Golf Club. Both are tree-lined yet open courses of a similar length, with undulating, generous fairways, elevation changes throughout and large, quick and sloped bentgrass greens.

The Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club shares many of those same characteristics and can help point us in the right direction this week. As does Sentosa GC – Tanjong Course in Singapore, host of the HSBC Women’s World Championship.

The Weather

Wind should play its part this week on an exposed course. It looks particularly strong over the second and third rounds, with a constant 10mph breeze accompanied by gusts of up to 30mph.

In addition, there is some rain about on Thursday and temperatures will be fairly cool over the course of the tournament.

The Field

This week’s field is crammed with some of the game’s biggest stars. Eight of the world’s top 10 will be in attendance, including all of the top 7; led by world #1 Lilia Vu.

The third-best player in the world, Jin Young Ko is the leading Korean player and is joined by recent first-time LPGA winner Hae Ran Ryu, as well as two-time Women’s Open winner, Jiyai Shin.

There are a bunch of 2023 Solheim Cup participants making their first starts since that superb event; Nelly Korda and Linn Grant among them.

Whilst defending champion, Lydia Ko, will be hoping a return to this event is just the right place to turn around her struggling form this year.

Selections

Hyo Joo Kim heads the betting at 11/1, with Jin Young Ko and Atthaya Thitikul next at 12s. Thitikul looks the stronger fit for this test of that leading trio; Ruoning Yin and Minjee Lee just outside of them should also suit the course.

However, the same can too be said for the elite ball-striking talents of Nelly Korda and I’m taking her to pick up her first LPGA win for the year this week.

3 pts Nelly Korda each way (1/4 – 5 places) – 14/1 

Nelly’s career has been a little stop-start the last couple of years with several injury problems. She started this season exceptionally, recording six finishes of 6th or better in her opening eight starts, before a lower-back injury forced her out of action for six weeks.

She was thrown in at the deep end upon her return in a couple of majors, understandably struggling with a missed cut in the Women’s PGA Championship and 64th-place finish in the US Women’s Open, but has found form since then.

Korda recorded her first win of the year five starts ago, with an impressive four-stroke victory in the Aramco Series – London event on the LET. She then performed strongly in the final two majors of the year, finishing 9th in the Evian Championship and 11th in the Women’s Open; finishes of 32nd in the CPKC Women’s Open and 14th in the Portland Classic on her last two starts on the LPGA have been perfectly solid.

The American possesses quality all-round but particularly excels off-the-tee, ranking 7th this season and is also one of the longest, ranking 15th in driving distance. She hits greens for fun and in her 9th in the Evian Championship she produced her best iron display of the year. As the leading par 5 scorer on tour, she has a strong set of stats for this test.

With two runner-up finishes in the HSBC Women’s World Championship, as well as a 3rd-place finish in Arkansas and top 10 in the Buick LPGA Shanghai, Korda has plenty of form in the right places and I’m expecting her to put those positive experiences to use this week.

1 pt A Lim Kim each way (1/4 – 5 places) – 45/1 

As you’d expect, there’s a strong home challenge this week but it’s the big-hitting 2020 US Women’s Open winner, A Lim Kim that appealed most to me at the prices.

Kim has had a super-consistent 2023, with just one missed cut in twenty-one starts and has shone in several majors, recording top 5s when 3rd in the Evian Championship and 4th in the Chevron Championship.

She hasn’t quite hit the heights of that form in the last couple of months but her game has continued to show promising signs and she comes into this week after finishing 17th in the Buick LPGA Shanghai.

A pair of 68s bookended her week there and she was one of the strongest tee-to-green players in the field. She especially excelled with her ball-striking, ranking 2nd in greens-in-regulation, 7th off-the-tee and 17th in approach.

This is indicative of the Korean’s general play this year, as she ranks 6th off-the-tee – also one of the longest, ranking 13th in driving distance – and is 36th in approach.

A couple of encouraging efforts in the HSBC Women’s World Championship, where she’s finished 9th and 14th, bodes well for Kim’s chances of winning a first LPGA title since 2020 this week.

1 pt Esther Henseleit each way (1/4 – 5 places) – 90/1 

Germany’s Esther Henseleit has been playing her best golf of the year over recent starts and can capitalise on that form to claim a first LPGA win in Korea.

Henseleit had a positive start to the year with a couple of top 20s on the LET and picked up her first on the LPGA when 13th in the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii. However, the quality of her results have been even greater since she finished 30th in the Women’s PGA Championship at the end of June.

In eight starts following that, she has missed just two cuts and finished inside the top 20 in each of her other six starts. This includes two top 5s, when losing out in a playoff in the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland and she went close again last week, finishing 3rd in China; missing out on the playoff by one stroke.

She achieved that finish while her approach play – which has been the biggest asset in her game this year, ranking 14th on the LPGA – was a little under par, but the strength of her game around-the-greens and off-the-tee meant she ranked 4th in strokes-gained tee-to-green for the week.

Henseleit pummels the par 5s, ranking 8th in par 5 scoring this season and with that 3rd in China last week not only a plus in terms of current form but also in comp form, she looks like a player who could soon turn those close calls into a win.

1 pt Patty Tavatanakit each way (1/4 – 5 places) – 90/1

The hugely talented Patty Tavatanakit hasn’t quite kicked on in the way many expected after her impressive Chevron Championship win in 2021. However, signs lately have been positive and with the driver starting to look like a serious weapon again, she looks a danger this week.

Patty started the season slowly, with a 3rd-place finish in the LA Open turning out to be somewhat of a false dawn, as she then missed four of her next six cuts and finished no better than 41st in the other two events.

A finish of 27th in the US Women’s Open at the start of July was a step in the right direction and has proven to be the springboard for an improved run of form for the Thai star.

Tavatanakit has missed just one cut since then, in the Women’s Open and recorded two more top 6 finishes. The first when 6th in the Scottish Women’s Open and two starts ago she finished 2nd in a strong field here in Korea on the KLPGA; following that with a 36th-place finish in China last week.

She produced her second-best driving performance of the year there, ranking 16th, which has been the story of her recent run of results, with each of her four best displays off-the-tee coming in her last seven LPGA starts. This has played a big part in her being as strong on the par 5s as anyone over those events.

Tavatanakit possesses plenty of easy power and with a 3rd-place finish in the HSBC Women’s World Championship an indicator of how she could fare this week, I’m expecting her to take another step forward at Seowon Hills.

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