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S. Korean women's golf major to be played without fans next week

All News 16:46 May 06, 2020

SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean women's golf major tournament scheduled for next week is expected to be played without fans, tour sources said Wednesday.

The Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour will resume its suspended season with the first major of the year, the KLPGA Championship, beginning May 14 in Yangju, just north of Seoul in Gyeonggi Province.

The season has been on hold since the beginning of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic, with only the season opener, the Hyosung Championship in Vietnam last December, having been completed.

This file photo, provided by the Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA), shows fans attending the final round of the Hyosung Championship at Twin Doves Golf Club in Ho Chi Minh City on Dec. 8, 2019. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

With COVID-19 cases in decline, the tour decided on April 16 to press play with the KLPGA Championship. The 72-hole event will be the first golf tournament to be played on South Korean soil this year.

The tour had explored allowing fans into Lakewood Country Club. With U.S. LPGA stars such as Park Sung-hyun, Kim Sei-young and Lee Jeong-eun -- all top-10 players in the world with a combined 18 LPGA titles -- having committed to the tournament, the tour considered showcasing one of its biggest championships to fans who have been starving for live action.

However, citing lingering COVID-19 concerns, the government said earlier Wednesday that professional sports organizations should continue to operate without fans for the time being, and the doors will gradually open for spectators down the road.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), the nation's top baseball competition, opened its season Tuesday without fans. The Korea Professional Football League (K League) will kick things off Friday behind closed doors, too.

Rather than pushing ahead with bringing in fans and risking possible infections, the KLPGA Tour will set up strict quarantine measures.

In this Getty Images file photo from Aug. 31, 2019, Park Sung-hyun of South Korea watches her shot at the second hole during the third round of the Cambia Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland. (Yonhap)

Lakewood Country Club has 36 holes, 18 each for the Lake Course and the Wood Course. The tournament will be played at the Wood Course, and the Lake Course will be open for members to play.

Those members will continue to use the clubhouse, and competing players and their caddies will use a separate facility as a temporary clubhouse during the tournament.

The tournament holes will be roped off so that the playing public will not have access.

All participating players will have their temperature checked before entering the course. They will be asked to maintain a safe distance from their playing partners and to sanitize their clubs during their round.


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