Planes ships, tourists and businesspeople all converge on Singapore; it’s the handiest place in the world, not to mention one of the most stunning. This week, though, it’s the world’s leading women golfing professionals who will be seizing some at least of the headlines in the Straits Times, with Danielle Kang, Lydia Ko and Leona Maguire leading the way.

The three have bagged each of the tournaments played so far on the ’22 LPGA tour and who would bet against one of that little lot winning again this week.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the trio is that they could just as easily have been among the key players in one of those high-powered business conventions in Singapore City. Each is as bright as the other.

Maguire, the latest to join the professional ranks, stayed at Duke University for long enough to earn herself a degree in psychology and a certificate in markets and management studies. (All at the same time as she was the No. 1 amateur in the world.)



Leona Maguire (Photo credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

“I learned consistency at Duke,” she told Golf Digest. “I’m a good planner and Duke taught me how to manage my time between golf and my studies. Going there was the best decision I ever made, as was staying there.”

The now 29-year-old Kang, who went to Pepperdine University, would be some boss in the workplace. A smart cookie if ever there were one, Kang would not hang about waiting for things to happen. She would want them to happen now – and they probably would.

The 24-year-old Ko, for her part, would have been the source of endless family discussions about which way to go in life. At the start of the 2012 season, she was due to sit eight Cambridge Board “O” Grades at her New Zealand High School – a figure which seemed entirely in keeping with the 99% she had just achieved in a school maths exam. However, when she won that year’s Canadian Open as a 14-year-old amateur – she won it by two from the legendary Inbee Park – the world’s media pressed to find out when she would be turning professional.


Lydia Ko (Photo credit: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

At that year’s British Women’s Open at Hoylake, Lydia sought advice from Michelle Wie, who made a very good case for the route she had taken herself. Namely, to go to college and to play professional golf at the same time. (Wie attended Stanford for two out of each three semesters and emerged with a degree in journalism.) Now for something more of the three’s golfing credentials…

Ko and Kang, between them, have won 29 times on the LPGA. That the 27-year-old Maguire, meantime, has only won once, is down to the fact that she did not turn professional until she finished at Duke in 2018. Maguire knows that people were suggesting that she should have turned professional sooner than she did, but she has never hesitated to say that she was still learning on the golf front. Learning how to put herself in contention regardless of how she was playing, and getting used to travelling from one golfing venue to another as she does today. As her mother has said, she hops on planes like she, the mum, catches the next bus.

Maguire’s amateur record defies belief. Suffice to say that she got off on the right foot when, at ten, she won the Wee Wonders on the Balgove course at St Andrews by 11 shots after a closing 61 before going on to win amateur titles all over the golfing globe. No doubt that 61 she shot in St Andrews would have had a mention in the family when, last year, she had a 61 in the last round of the Evian, the lowest ever score in the final round of a major by any golfer, male or female. Yet perhaps her greatest feat to date was in last year’s Solheim Cup when she won an unprecedented number of a points – 4.5 – to contribute to Europe’s close shave of a win. Heaven knows what she is capable of in the years ahead.

Kang made the news when she qualified for the US Open at the age of 14 before winning back-to-back US Amateur titles in 2010 and 2011. She then cut short cut short her time at Pepperdine University because of the call of the professional tour. Though she had a pretty long wait – till 2017 – to win her first tournament, no-one was too surprised when the win in question was the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA championship, a major.


Danielle Kang (Photo credit: Lionel Ng/Getty Images)

The Kos eventually came down on the side of Lydia following her golfing dream as soon as she left school – and saving college until later. At the last time of asking she is verging on $13 million in prize-money, while keeping her academic side busy with an extra-mural course in psychology at Soeul University.

Lydia has said before now that she plans to retire from golf at the age of 30, with her first thought that she might want to go down the social work route.

Yet fun as it is to think of what all three of these bright sparks might be doing in six years time, it’s enough for now to ponder on how they will fare at Sentosa in the days ahead.