Let’s Make a Big New Face… Will the ‘Korean Wind’ blow back to the LPGA

’15 wins in 2019, 7 wins in 2020, 7 wins in 2021, 4 wins in 2022, 5 wins in 2023…’

This is the number of wins that Korean golfers have won in the U.S. LPGA Tour over the past five years. Korean golfers who dominated the LPGA tour, including Park In-bee, Park Sung-hyun, Ko Jin-young, and Kim Se-young, joined hands with 15 wins each in 2015, 2017 and 2019, fell into a recession as the supply of players declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2024, however, we can expect a definite upward trend. Just because the number of wins increased from four last year to five this year does not mean that the team simply hit the bottom. Korean players’ challenges to the U.S. stage, which had been slowing down in recent years, have begun to increase again. First of all, a lot of new faces will be added. At the 2023 LPGA Tour Q-Series, which ended at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Mobile, Alabama, the U.S., Lee So-mi, Sung Yoo-jin and Im Jin-hee, who are strong players in the KLPGA, passed and won the full seed for next season.

Lee So-mi, who has five wins in Korea, ranked second in the LPGA Q-Series held for six days. Sung Yu-jin, who has three wins including two wins this season, tied for seventh, and Im Jin-hee, the strongest player in Korea (four wins) this year, tied for 17th, surpassing the passing mark (ranked 20th). Hong Jung-min, who tied for 45th and acquired parallel cards for the first and second part of the tour, is practically unable to play the LPGA as the main stage next year, but has laid the groundwork for her U.S. career. Jeon Ji-won and Kang Min-ji, who received full seed next year by entering the top 10 in LPGA secondary tour prize money, joined the team, and Jang Hyo-joon, a rookie who qualified to play the Q-Series again due to poor performance this year, also joined the team to strengthen her base.

The LPGA Tour Q-Series is a gateway for Korean players to the U.S. After passing the Q-School senior pass in 1997, Pak Se-ri joined the LPGA Tour and has emerged as a star with a total of 25 wins. Since 2019, when the name and selection method were changed to the Q-Series, Lee Jeong-eun 6 (six was added to differentiate themselves from other Korean LPGA golfers with the same name), Annarin, and Yoo Hae-ran have enjoyed the joy of passing the LPGA Tour. Most Korean players who led their heyday since the mid-2000s made a soft landing in the LPGA Tour after passing the Q-Series.

Three people who go straight to the LPGA ‘the most since 2019’

The number of successful applicants who will go directly from the KLPGA tour to the LPGA tour is the highest since 2019. At an atmosphere where Koreans were reluctant to go overseas due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they changed their mind to challenge and increase competitiveness again. More players are preparing to knock on the LPGA next year than this year.

The existing players, who have won five games this year, have raised their hopes for the new season with meaningful harvests. Ko has won two games of this season at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in February and the Cognizant Founders Cup in May, continuing her winning streak for seven consecutive years (15 victories in total). Although she came down from world No. 1, it was a season of revival that completely relieved anxiety at the end of 2022, when she only had one win due to a wrist injury.

Yoo Hae-ran achieved her first win of the debut season at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in October. Kim Hyo-joo also grabbed a trophy at the Voluntiers of America Classic in October and won for three consecutive years (6 titles in total). With her first win, Yoo Hae-ran achieved her dream of becoming a rookie of the year in the LPGA Tour following the KLPGA tour. The fact that a Korean player will continue her career as a rookie of the year is very meaningful. Since Pak Se-ri in 1997, Korea has produced its 14th LPGA Rookie of the Year following Kim Mi-hyun, Han Hee-won, Ahn Si-hyun, Lee Sun-hwa, Shin Ji-ae, Seo Hee-kyung, Ryu So-yeon, Kim Se-young, Jeon In-ji, Park Sung-hyun, Ko Jin-young and Lee Jeong-eun. The fact that Korea, which had been lagging behind Thai players for five consecutive years from Kim Se-young in 2015 to Lee Jeong-eun 6 in 2019, has regained the Rookie of the Year award can be seen as a sign that the supply and demand for the rookie powerhouse has begun.

Yang Hee-young, a 16-year veteran of the LPGA Tour, won the CME Group Tour Championship, the final game of the season, and hit the jackpot by winning 2 million dollars in prize money. Yang Hee-young, who won her fifth career championship in four years and nine months since the Honda LPGA Thailand in 2019, has overcome the congestion of Korean players who were almost tied to four wins for two consecutive years. Korean fans, who were disappointed that she did not win a major competition this year after Jeon In-ji won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last year, cheered as Yang Hee-young won a major competition with the highest prize money and jumped to second place in the prize money ranking (3165,834 dollars). With Yang Hee-young’s victory, Korean players have recorded 210 wins in the LPGA since Koo Ok-hee in 1988.

More than 25 Korean players will play on the 2024 LPGA Tour. Expectations are rising that the 2024 season, when existing players keep their potential and young power join together, will serve as a starting point to revive the glory of the 2010s.

Up to four people in the top 15 in the world will participate in the Paris Olympics

The 2024 Paris Olympics provides a good impetus to attract good faith competition among Korean female golfers. Since Park In-bee won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, in which golf has become an official sport for the first time in more than 100 years, participating in the Olympics has become a dream for all golfers. Sixty men and women can participate in the Olympic golf competition by June next year, respectively, depending on the world ranking. To ensure competition among strong players, two golfers have been added to allow up to four golfers to participate.

As of the end of the 2023 season, Ko Jin-young (6th), Kim Hyo-joo (7th), and Shin Ji-ae (15th) are in the rankings where they can participate in the Olympics. Yang Hee-young (16th), Yoo Hae-ran (30th), Park Min-ji (32nd), Lee Ye-won (34th), and Choi Hye-jin (35th) are followed. If Korean players continue to perform well during the first half of next year, they are expected to continue the dominance of Korean women’s golf, which competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Veteran Shin Ji-ae is particularly notable for her performance. Shin, who has won 11 titles (two major titles) in the LPGA tour and is moving to Japan, has won one title in Australia and two titles in Japan this year, winning 64 titles in total worldwide professional competitions. She also ranked second in the U.S. Women’s Open and third in the AIG Women’s Open, rising to 15th in the world.

Yang Hee-young is also aiming for the national flag again for the first time in eight years after the 2016 Rio Olympics, as she ranked 16th on the basis of her victory in the final match of this season. Yang unfortunately failed to win a medal at the time, finishing fourth by a one-shot gap. If she wins the LPGA Tour in the first half of 2024, she can elevate her world ranking quickly. It would be even better if she wins a major championship that reflects many world ranking points. 랭크카지노

Other players who are participating in Japanese and Korean tours have a chance to turn the tables if they win major competitions. Strong players such as Shin Ji-ae, Yang Hee-young, Yoo Hae-ran and Park Min-ji, who are close to the national team’s candidates, are rushing to prepare for winter training by setting their new year’s goal for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Now, the bottom line is solidified enough. All they have to do is wait for the Korean players’ winnings to be heard in the LPGA tour in 2024.

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