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Jin Young Ko was a on mission to find a good egg tart in Singapore. The defending champion has grown quite fond of the food that surrounds the event known as “Asia’s major,” and the fans there have grown quite fond of her.

After Ko’s victory last year at the HSBC Women’s Champions, she said a wealthy man in the city created a fan club for her that has 27 members, one representing each point needed for the LPGA Hall of Fame. Ko, a 13-time winner on the LPGA, currently has 18 points.

“There’s never been a time I didn’t want to play at this event,” said Ko. “I always want to come here.”

This marks the 15th playing of the HSBC, and nine of the top-10 players in the world are in the field. Lexi Thompson, No. 6, is the only one not teeing it up at Sentosa Golf Club’s Tanjong Course.

Ko, 27, began the 2022 season in Singapore and, after winning, looked poised to dominate. But a nagging wrist injury derailed her for much of the year and she didn’t win again. As she took an extended time to rest over the offseason, Ko booked a trip to Europe for 10 days. She asked Finland’s Matilda Castren for advice on how to see the Northern Lights and after a snowy adventure there, went to Paris for Christmas to see the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.

“One of my highlights in my life was to go and watch Northern Lights,” she said.

After spending a month in Vietnam working on her game Ko, who took up meditating over the winter, opened the season in Thailand with a share of sixth, recording four rounds in the 60s at a tournament for the first time since the 2022 Amundi Evian.

“I’m training hard in meditation and practicing golf,” she said.