There isn’t much that Jin Young Ko hasn’t done in golf but she will have the chance to achieve at least one first at this week’s Aramco Team Series event in Hong Kong.
The Korean is a multiple major champion and a former world No1, having broken Lorena Ochoa’s long-standing record for the most weeks at the top of the rankings earlier this year.
But Ko is set to make her debut in Hong Kong on Friday when she will go up against fellow stars Lilia Vu, Carlota Ciganda and Rose Zhang, and get her first taste of the Aramco Team Series format, which combines individual and team scoring.
“I’m excited to compete in my first-ever Aramco Team Series event in a city I’ve yet to play in as well,” said the 28-year-old, a two-time winner already this year.
“I’ve heard many exciting things about the innovative team and individual formats of the Aramco Team Series and can’t wait to have fun competing alongside top professionals and amateurs, and hopefully, I’ll be able to capture both titles in October.”
Ko arrives in Hong Kong in form, having finished runner-up at the CPKC Women’s Open last week, and she is not the only player looking to round off a successful 2023.
Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson will be aiming to boost her prospects of winning the Ladies European Tour’s order of merit, the Race to Costa del Sol, for the first time.
Gustavsson, a winning captain in the team competition at the New York leg of the Aramco Team Series last year, is currently second in the money list thanks in part to her maiden win on the tour at the Open de France last week.
The field is full of former winners of Aramco Team Series events, including Alison Lee, Chiara Noja, Pia Babnik, Nicole Garcia and Marianne Skarpnord.
Skarpnord won the inaugural event of the first season of the series, at Centurion Club in London in 2021, while American Lee took the individual crown at Sotogrande, Spain, later that year.
European teenagers Noja and Babnik are the two previous winners of the Jeddah leg, while Garcia, like Gutavsson, has enjoyed success as a captain, in London last year.
The Hong Kong crowd has a handful of local players to watch, from the island’s own Tiffany Chen to Chinese pair Xiyu Lin, the world No13, and Muni He.
And there is no shortage of British interest, with the likes of Lily May Humphreys, Gabriella Cowley and Laura Beveridge set to compete.