The tenth tournament of the 2023 season, the 11th E1 Charity Open (KRW 900 million in total prize money, KRW 162 million in winner’s purse), will kick off on Friday, May 26 at Seongmunan Country Club (Par 72/6,522 yards) in Wonju City, Gangwon Province.
The E1 Charity Open, the KLPGA Tour’s signature charity tournament that continues to make a positive impact by raising funds for charity, has increased its total prize fund by 100 million won this year.
The E1 Charity Open, which has seen fierce competition every year with not a single multiple win in the ten tournaments held so far, will once again bring together the best players to fight for the title.
Among them, it will be interesting to see how defending champion Jung Yoon-ji (23, NH Investment & Securities) will perform in this tournament. “It’s my first time competing as the defending champion, so I feel both pressure and excitement. Last year, I won the title in five overtime games, and many people recognized and supported me, which has given me a lot of strength so far. Therefore, winning the first title last year means a lot to me.”
“Actually, I’m not putting well these days. For this tournament, I’m going to pay the most attention to my putt distance. I know it will be very difficult to defend my title. However, I am determined to play a good game so that I can be remembered at the ‘E1 Charity Open’.”
With Sung Yoo-jin (23, Q CELLS), who won the KLPGA’s only match play event last week, the Doosan Match Play Championship 2023, out of the tournament due to a sore thumb, all eyes will be on Park Hyun-kyung (23, Korea Land Trust), who finished runner-up in a thrilling playoff with Sung.
“I was worried that it would be physically difficult, but it’s better than I thought,” said Park, who has three runner-up finishes without a win this season and has moved up to second on the money list. I think it’s because I’ve been working hard on my physical fitness training in the intervals following my winter training.”
“I’m still not happy with my shots, but my short game and putts around the greens are going well and I’m continuing to perform well. I will try to perfect my shots in this tournament,” she said, adding, “People around me are worried about winning. I feel the same way, but when I get greedy, it always takes a lot of energy and the results are not good. I will try to play with no pressure and have fun,” she said.
Choi Hye-jin (24, Lotte), who plays on the LPGA Tour, is also competing in her first tournament in Korea in a long time. After finishing tied for 18th at the season-opening Hana Financial Group Singapore Women’s Open, it will be interesting to see if Choi can add to her KLPGA Tour win total after nearly two years and five months.
Bang Shin-sil (19, KB Financial Group), who has competed in four tournaments on the regular tour this season, playing in the championship group on two occasions, will also be looking for another victory. Bang’s winnings from the four tournaments propelled him to 21st place on the season’s money list, and while he was not ranked due to not playing in more than 50 percent of the tournaments, he earned a total of 381 Rookie of the Year points, the third-highest total behind Kim Min-byul (19, Hite Jinro), who leads the Rookie of the Year standings with 801 points, and Hwang Yoo-min (20, Lotte), who is in second place with 574 points.
Meanwhile, Ha Min-song (27), who finished runner-up in this event last year after losing in overtime, will be looking to redeem herself this time around. It was the second consecutive year that Ha finished runner-up in the event, as she also finished runner-up in the 2021 season.
Three players who have competed in the 11th edition of the event without missing a beat are also worth keeping an eye on. Lee Jung-min (31, Q CELLS), Kim Hae-rim (34, Samcheonri), and Choi Ga-ram (31) have been competing in the event for 11 consecutive years, with the latter having three top-10 finishes to his credit, including a win in 2015.
Each of the nine events this season has been won by a different player. If any of this season’s winners, Park Ji-young (27, Korea Land Trust), Lee Jung-min, Lee Ye-won (20, KB Financial Group), Lee Joo-mi (28, Golden Blue), Choi Eun-woo (28, Amano), and Park Bo-gyeom (25, Ankang E&C), can win this tournament, it will be the first multi-winner of the season.
Meanwhile, Yoo So-yeon (34, Mediheal) and Bae Jung-eun (38) will be playing as recommended players, while defending champion Kim Bo-kyung (37) made his first appearance on the regular tour in a long time. The field also includes past winners such as Ji Han-sol (27, Dongbu E&C) and Lee So-young (26, Lotte), as well as talented players such as Park Min-ji (25, NH Investment & Securities), Kim Soo-ji (27, Dongbu E&C), Ahn Sun-joo (36, National Beef), and Hong Jung-min (21, CJ), who will be aiming to win every tournament.
Special prizes were also abundant. The first player to record a hole-in-one on any par-3 hole will receive a prize. A Hyundai Kona Electric car worth 57 million won by LS Electric is up for grabs on the 6th hole, and a set of massage equipment worth 8 million won by Seragem on the 8th hole.
The player who makes a hole-in-one on the 12th hole will receive a Frederick Constant MenuFactory TrueBee worth KRW 33 million, and the player who makes a hole-in-one on the 15th hole will receive a KG Mobility Torres Hybrid LPG vehicle worth KRW 31.6 million. In addition, the lowest score of each round will receive KRW 1 million in cash from E1, and players who do not qualify will receive a KRW 500,000 gift certificate from LS Networks 스포츠토토.