Posted by: happyfan08 | March 11, 2010

The KLPGA Ladies Getting it Done!

Two international events on two different world tours prominently featured KLPGA stars this past weekend (March 4th – 7th). On the Japanese LPGA Tour, we have the Daikin Orchid Ladies Golf Tournament, the opening event of the JLPGA season. Last year, several formidable Korean golfers gained membership on the tour at Qualifying School, and several of them were at this event in their first appearances as JLPGA members. Also present was top Korean Jiyai Shin, looking for her first win of the year. One of the rookies on the JLPGA tour is Sun Ju Ahn, a player who has been among the top guns on the KLPGA tour the past few years. Ahn finished second at Q-School last season, so there was every reason to believe she would be a factor in Japan in 2010, but she got off to a better start than most anyone was expecting. The final round looked like it might be a battle between Jiyai Shin and Ahn for the title, just like the old days in Korea. Shin started the day several shots back but made her typical final round charge. But Ahn barely flinched, and wound up shooting a final round 67 to easily capture the win by five shots. Shin finished tied for second with three other players, including JLPGA rookie and LPGA Major winner Inbee Park, also making her tour debut. Big Mama Ahn later said that her goal coming into the season had been to win once, but seeing as how she has already done that in just her first event, it looks like she’ll have to modify that goal somewhat!!

Sun Ju Ahn wins in Japan

 By the way, Sun Ju was my Rookie to watch in 2010:

https://seoulsisters.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/2009-awards-9-of-12-rookie-to-watch-in-2010/

On January 21st, I said of her : “Sun Ju Ahn will likely concentrate on playing the JLPGA, and she is one of the strongest players from the KLPGA the last few years. Although she did not amass the same kind of win totals as Hee Kyung Seo or Jiyai Shin, she still was the type of player who contended often. This year, she led the tour in scoring average much of the season, and was also the longest driver on tour. Factors like that lead me to believe she will quickly establish herself as one of the premiere players in Japan.” Mission accomplished!

Meanwhile, back in Australia…

One of the biggest events of the Australian year is the ANZ Ladies Masters, and this year they had one of the strongest fields ever. No less than three current Major winners were in the field, including US Women’s Open champ Eun Hee Ji. Jeong Jang was returning from injury and rehabilitation as well, and a plethora of top KLPGA stars were playing, including four of the five top players from last season (the fifth, of course, was Ahn, who was busy winning in Japan). To no one’s surprise, the KLPGA stars made a good showing almost right from the get go. After two rounds, the leaderboard featured no less than three KLPGA biggies in the top five. Ji Na Lim shot a flawless 66 to move into a tie for the lead, with Hee Kyung Seo and So Yeon Ryu, the KLPGA’s number one and two players, just two shots back tied for third. That meant that three of the four women who performed the ‘Salsa number’ at the 2009 KLPGA Award Show were on top of the leaderboard. But what about the fourth dancer, Bo Mi Lee? Well, she had her big moment on Saturday, when she shot the day’s low round of 63 to vault into a tie for second, just a shot behind six time tournament winner Karrie Webb. Seo and Ryu both shot 66s in round 3 to remain two shots back, while Lim unfortunately shot over par and fell out of contention.

Bo Mi Lee

 In the end, Webb proved unstoppable, shooting a jaw dropping 61 (including at least one hole out from the fairway) to annihilate the field by six strokes. But the Sisters did a great job nonetheless. Bo Mi Lee, who had to my knowledge never played in an international event as a pro outside of the KLPGA, acquitted herself nicely with a 20 under par total and tie for second, with Hee Kyung shooting a second straight 66 to move to 19 under and fourth. So Yeon never really got it going on Sunday, but her 70 was still good enough for solo fifth. Not quite as good as the tie for second she had in this event last year, but nothing to sneeze at!

Hee Kyung Seo

So Yeon Ryu in round 2

Look for more action from the KLPGA at the next event in Australia, the Australian Women’s Open!!

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Responses

  1. Well…I think it’s WAAAAAAY past time to reconsider the Rolex Rankings and how they favor the JLPGA players over the KLPGA players…and I say that as a big fan of Sakura Yokomine as well as the Seoul Sisters…maybe a handful of wins by Koreans this year on the JLPGA will finally get the RR folks to…ah, what am I saying…they will continue to fall back on the same flawed logic they always have…and Ai Miyazato’s hot play will just strengthen their arguments…never mind all the Korean wins on the LPGA over the years heading straight for triple digits…


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