Nelly Korda goes to the Olympics as the No. 1 golfer in the world
A 60-player field for Tokyo was scheduled for Tuesday, although players for the men’s and women’s competitions will not be certified until next week.
Countries were allowed two players until the field was full, with a maximum of four, provided they were in the top 15 in the women’s world rankings. South Korea, the powerhouse in women’s golf, was again in all four, with Hyo-joo Kim ranked last in the world at No. 6.
Inby Park came back easily in her bid to win a second gold medal. Other medalists from Rio de Janeiro, New Zealand’s Lidia Ko (Silver) and China’s Shanshan Feng (Bronze), will also be in Japan.
The Americans had only three players in the world’s top 15 for the 2016 Games. This time they will have four, including a pair of sisters. Korda, after winning her first major title at the Women’s PGA Championship, will be joined by older sister Jessica, who is number 13 in the world.
The other Americans are Danielle Kang (No. 5) and Lexi Thompson (No. 9). Thompson is the only American to return to the Olympics.
Park and Sei Young Kim returned to the Olympics for South Korea. Hyo-joo Kim and Jin Young Ko, who were world No. 1 until Korda’s replacement last week, are newcomers.
England’s Charlie Hull and South Africa’s Lee Anne Paes were the only players who decided to withdraw. Hull played in the last Olympics and said on Instagram that she would not be back due to scheduling and travel.
Hull was replaced by Georgia Hall, a former women’s British Open champion. Paes would have been the other South African in the field. This place went to the world number 418 player Maha Hadioui of Morocco.
Men chose not to play 15 players, compared to 22 withdrawals in Rio when golf returned to the Olympic program for the first time since 1904.
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