World No. 1 Jin Young KO, KLPGA No. 1 Hyo Joo KIM among players competing in the first of the newly minted Ladies Asian Tour series, for a total purse of KRW 1.5 billion (US$1.3 million)
KOREA - Media OutReach - 3 November 2020 - Hana Financial Group (Chairman Jung-Tai Kim, www.hanafn.com) has announced that the 2020 KLPGA Hana Financial Group Championship is to be held at the Sky72 Ocean Course on Yeongjong Island, Incheon this week from 5-8 November 2020.
The Hana Financial Group (HFG) Championship 2020, which has the largest KLPGA total purse of KRW 1.5 billion (US$1.3million), will be the first tournament of the new Ladies Asian Tour (LAT) series organized by the Asian Golf Leaders Forum (AGLF). AGLF was officially launched in January this year to jumpstart Asian women's golf.
The tournament was originally scheduled for September 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will now be held this week at Sky72 without spectators at the golf course, with all safety precautions enforced. The organizing committee of HFG Championship has decided to proceed with the tournament in this format to provide more playing opportunities to Korean players in the KLPGA to make up for the number of domestic tournaments that have been cancelled due to the pandemic.
Global top women golfers to play
The HFG Championship has confirmed the attendance of some top-ranked players, who are rarely seen in the KLPGA Tours.
Among the 96 players, 13 major champions in the past four years will compete; this includes the current world No. 1 Jin Young KO, LPGA Tour Players So Yeon RYU, Jeong Eun LEE6 and Hyo Joo KIM.
Other KLPGA players confirmed to be playing are 2019 Hana Financial Group Championship winner Ha Na Jang, Ji Hyun KIM, Hye Rim KIM, Chae Yoon PARK, Shi Hyun AHN, Ji Hyun OH, Da Hyun LEE, Seung Hyun LEE, Hee Jeong LIM, Su Yeon JANG and Hye Jin CHOI. Past winners Jin Joo HONG and Na Yeon CHOI will also be playing.
HFG decided to prioritize players' health above all, hence invitations to international players were not extended after taking into consideration the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, international travel restrictions and quarantine regulations.
As a result, overseas-based HFG-sponsored players like Rolex World Ranking No. 5 Minjee LEE, former Rolex World Ranking Lydia KO, rising star Yealimi NOH and Patty TAVATANAKIT will not be playing in the HFG Championship. This is so that they can remain in the LPGA tour to accumulate World Ranking points for the 2021 Olympics.
Propelling Asian women's golf to the next level
The Hana Financial Group has been a strong supporter of Asian women's golf since 2006. With its mission to promote Asian women's golf, HFG will also be holding the inaugural Hana Financial Group Singapore Women's Open next year, co-sanctioned by the KLPGA and the Singapore Golf Association. The Singapore Women's Open will also be part of the 2021 season of Ladies Asian Tour (LAT) series.
AGLF, the organizer of this new LAT series, is supported by R&A and is working to collaborate with other Asian countries. Tournaments confirmed to be joining the LAT series in 2021 include the Korean Women's Open, sanctioned by the Korean Golf Association, as well as KLPGA's Asian co-sanctioned events in China, Taiwan and Vietnam. The LAT series is expected to have at least 6 events in 2021 across Asian countries. More details will be announced at a later date.
2020 Hana Financial Group Championship will be aired on SBS Golf from 5 November in Korea. Check local broadcasters for local schedules.
About Hana Financial Group Championship
Hana Financial Group established the Hana Bank Championship in 2009 and has been successfully hosting the LPGA Tour's "Hana Bank Championship" until 2018. The tournament changed its name to Hana Financial Group Championship in 2019 and this is the second year under the new name, now part of the Ladies Asian Tour. Throughout the years, the Championship has been the birthplace of world-class players such as Mexican golf hero Lorena Ochoa, US-based Juli Inkster, Britain's Laura Davies, and Taiwan's Tseng Yani. It has also enabled Korean players like Jin Joo HONG, Na Yeon CHOI, Jin Young KO, Kyu Jung BAEK and In Gee CHUN to advance into the world stage of US LPGA.
About Ladies Asian Tour Series
Ladies Asian Tour is a new tour series organised by the AGLF in 2020. Hana Financial Group Championship will be the first official event of Ladies Asian Tour Series 2020/2021, and is expected to have at least 6 tournaments in 2021 across Asian countries, including the new Hana Financial Group Singapore Women's Open 2021, a Singapore national event co-sanctioned by the Singapore Golf Association and KLPGA.
About Hana Financial Group
Hana Financial Group has its roots in South Korea, founded in 1971 as Korea Investment & Finance Corporation, the country's first finance company solely funded by private capital. Founded on principles of integrity and pioneering entrepreneurship, it has grown from two branches in Korea to over 840 branches in 24 countries across the globe -- Korea's largest overseas network -- managing in excess of KRW 360 trillion in assets (as of December 2018). The Group envisions realizing a premier financial service network, to be a market leader with greater synergy among its subsidiaries in banking, securities, credit cards, capital, and insurance. The Group has set its sights on being the world's most trusted premier financial group driven by customer experience. This move has seen substantial investments in China, Indonesia - where it is ranked in the top 20 banks - and Vietnam - where it now owns 15% of BIDV, the country's largest lender - as it also moves into the fintech space.
About Asia Golf Leaders Forum
Asia Golf Leaders Forum (AGLF) is a non-profit corporation, led by four founders Mr. Jung-Tai Kim of Hana Financial Group, Mr. Gwang-Soo Hur of Korea Golf Association (KGA), Mr. Sang-Yeol Kim of Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA), and Mr. Kenny Park of Simone. With a mutual understanding with the R&A and golf associations in Asia such as Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, AGLF's mission is to unite all the Asian golf associations and create synergies to boost Asian golf to a global arena. Together with corporate partners, AGLF is working to establish and grow Asian's own series of women's golf by co-developing with existing tournaments or establish new tournaments in countries across Asia. R&A has put its support behind AGLF and LAT for this new milestone in Asian Golf.