Healthy Wie returns to Singapore aiming to defend title

FILE - In this March 4, 2017, file photo, Michelle Wie of the United States tees off on the 2nd hole during the HSBC Women's Champions golf tournament at Sentosa Golf Club's Tanjong course in Singapore. The LPGA Tour completes its four-week swing through Australia and Asia with a healthy Wie defending her title at the 2019 HSBC Women’s World Championship at the course. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

SINGAPORE — The LPGA Tour completes its four-week swing through Australia and Asia with a healthy Michelle Wie aiming to defend her HSBC Women's World Championship title at Sentosa Golf Club's Tanjong course.

Wie underwent surgery on her right hand earlier this month because of lingering issues from a car accident two years ago. She played in last week's LPGA Thailand tournament, where she finished tied for 23rd behind winner Amy Yang.

"I feel extremely lucky to even be here this year, so I'm just soaking it all in and having a lot of fun," Wie told a pre-tournament news conference. "Just the feeling that I felt after last year ... I just felt so relieved. I knew that I had overcome a lot of stuff within the last couple of years."

Wie fractured her hand and sustained extensive neck issues in the car accident. The 29-year-old American is taking precautions to work toward her 2019 goals — playing injury-free, making the Solheim Cup team for a sixth time and attempting to win another major to add to her 2014 U.S. Open triumph.

"I guess as an old person now, a veteran out on tour, physio and recovery is key for me," said Wie, who started on the LPGA Tour in 2009. "My life kind of revolves around it. I travel with my private physio and we have treatment every day, whether it's getting needles in, whether it's icing; I have my devices that I carry around with me."

Wie will be playing for the 10th time in the Singapore tournament and she's joined by world No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, along with the top 15 players in the Women's World Golf Rankings, including No. 4 Inbee Park making her season debut.

Jutanugarn will tee off Thursday in the last group of the no-cut, 63-player field with No. 3 Sung Hyun Park and No. 7 Minjee Lee.

Nelly Korda, who won the Women's Australian Open two weeks ago, leads the 2019 Race to the CME Globe with 780 points, followed by other 2019 winners Eun-Hee Ji (Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions) with 610 points and Yang with 576.

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