Kim Sei-young hopes to become the world No. 1 with a win at the U.S. Women’s Open, which begins on Thursday, but with nine of the top 10 golfers playing in Houston, Texas, she faces a tough fight in the final major of 2020.
After picking up her maiden major title at the Women’s PGA Championship in October, second-ranked Kim is among the favourites in the tightly packed field at Champions Golf Club, where competitors will play on two courses: Cypress Creek and Jackrabbit.
A 12-times LPGA winner, the 27-year-old Korean has enjoyed five top-10 finishes in 2020, including a win at the Pelican Women’s Championship last month.
“I felt like previously my game fluctuated quite a bit throughout the season but this season what’s been different was I was able to be consistent with my performance,” said Kim. “And because I’m playing well, I just want to continue on this momentum and try to finish strong every tournament.”
She hopes to dethrone her 25-year-old compatriot Ko Jin-young from the top of the world rankings, but will have to beat back fearsome competitors including returning champion Lee Jeong-eun, world number three American Nelly Korda and fourth-ranked Danielle Kang, who won two LPGA titles this year but took a few weeks off from competition after October.
“I actually needed to tune up some stuff back at home with my game and feel like I was ready to play here,” said the 28-year-old American, who won the Women’s PGA Championship in 2017. “I need to have my height and I need to have my ball control. Distance off the tee is going to be huge.”
The tournament, which is in its 75th year and is the oldest of the women’s golf majors, has been rescheduled from June due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be held without fans in attendance.
Echoing others in the field this week, the third-ranked Korda said the two courses used in the tournament would pose a significant challenge.
“I have never done this before, so there’s a lot more yardage books,” said the 22-year-old American, who has three LPGA titles to her name and finished tied for second in the ANA Inspiration in September.
“A lot more prep. These greens definitely play a big role, and so I’ve been working a lot around the greens.”