by Jeff Skinner
The LPGA Tour continues its Asian swing at the HSBC Women’s Champions this week. Angela Stanford is defending her 2012 title against a solid field. But the HSBC took a hit today as world number nine Ai Miyazato withdrew due to whiplash.
Miyazato suffered the injury in a five car pileup last week that involved a caravan of cars carrying LPGA players. Paula Creamer and Suzann Pettersen were also involved and Creamer has withdrawn from the Pro-Am but is hoping to be able to tee it up.
Even with some withdrawals the field at The HSBC still includes 15 of the top 20 players in the world and Yani Tseng (1), Na Yeon Choi (2) and Stacy Lewis (3) will all be looking to earn their first victory of the LPGA season.
Tseng seems to have found her old form with top finishes in her last two outings. Tseng placed second in Australia and her Sunday charge in Thailand last week earned her a second place finish.
The HSBC is visiting a new course this year and the Serapong Course at the Sentosa Golf Club offers a new set of challenges to the players. Stacy Lewis said, “It’s just tricky. It makes you think a lot. It’s going to pull out the best ball-strikers and the best caddies. I think the caddies are going to get a workout this week trying to figure out the right numbers to hit off the tee. You don’t hit driver a lot. You really just have to kind of think your way around and be really patient.”
Michelle Wie is looking for a new start this year but unfortunately she is still following her form of last season. After graduating from Stanford she was set to be a full time, focused member of the tour. She played poorly last year and her slump has continued into 2013. With a missed cut and a T45 Wie is still searching for answers. This week she’s said she will try a new putting stance that mimics some of her shorter friends. The six foot tall golfer has taken to bending over drastically on the greens. “I was looking at like Jiyai Shin and Ai Miyazato and they all putt really well, and the common factor there is they are all 5-feet tall,” Wie said. “So I’m like, maybe I’ll just try and act like I’m five feet tall, get a little lower to the ground (giggling). It’s been working fine for them. It’s something I’ve been working on and it’s been feeling comfortable and we’ll see.”
The Golf Channel will have delayed coverage of The HSBC starting at 12:30pm on Thursday.