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Women's golf starts up in South Korea -- without fans

South Korean golfer Park Sung-hyun, right, and Choi Hye-jin, left, pose for photographers during a media day for the 42nd KLPGA Championship at the Lakewood Country Club in Yangju, South Korea, on May 13, 2020. (Im Byung-shik/Yonhap via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- The South Korean women's golf tour is starting up again with the KLPGA Championship opening on Thursday, an event that will be played without fans on the course.

    Women's golf in South Korea joins Korea's professional baseball and soccer leagues, which have already restarted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

    "The priority is the safety of the players, tournament officials and golf fans and (the event) will be broadcast," organizers said in a statement.

    The tournament at the Lakewood Country Club located east of the capital Seoul was originally schedule for April 30 through May 3.

    Organizers said social distancing will be practiced by players and tournament officials. Players will also have hand sanitizers available. It was not clear if players would take coronavirus tests.

    The 150-player field is topped by Park Sung-hyun, Kim Sei-young and defending champion Choi Hye-jin.

    South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that Ko Jin-young and Park Sung-hyun, who are No. 1 and No. 3 in the women's world golf rankings, will play an exhibition skins match near Incheon International Airport on May 24, with the players donating their winnings to charities of their choice.

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