Posted by: happyfan08 | October 5, 2015

InGeeCredible In Gee Chun Wins Another Major!

In Gee Chun has had one of the most impressive seasons a Korean golfer has had in recent memory. It seems she is not yet done with collecting trophies, either. This past weekend, she added the Japan Women’s Open title to her collection. It was her seventh win of 2015 on three different tours, and her fourth Major.

In Gee with the 2015 Japan Women’s Open trophy

It was not an easy week for her. Since the Women’s British Open in August, she has been playing a bit worse than her 2015 standard. When she won her first Japanese tour Major back in May, she had taken control of the tournament by the third round and had a relatively easy walk to the title on Sunday. This time, she had to fight every step of the way, finally triumphing in a hard fought four-hole playoff against two other players.

In Gee’s win can teach us a lot about what makes a great golfer successful. Here are some of the lessons from the past week:

Never Give Up

Amazingly, for her entire 72 holes of regulation, In Gee never once led or even shared the lead. Most of the time she was two to four shots behind the leaders. It looked like she would end up with a solid top five, but the win seemed ever out of reach. But In Gee never once folded. She kept herself close to the leaders through four days. While pretty much everyone else had highs and lows, Chun shot 71-73-71-71, a model of consistency on the tough track.

In Gee after her win

In Gee made par on the final hole to finish one shot behind Japanese player Erika Kikuchi. But Kikuchi still had one more hole to play, one of the toughest on the course, and when she made bogey, Chun for the first time all week found herself with a share of the lead. Four holes later, she had the trophy.

The greatest Korean golfer of her generation, Inbee Park, has used this same attitude to win several of her Majors. Just this year, Park found herself behind Jin Young Ko entering the final round of the British Women’s Open. Ko was on a roll, making an eagle and birdie to increase her lead. Park stayed calm, kept in touch with Ko, and when Ko started to struggle, Park stuck the dagger in: a perfect approach shot on the tough 16th hole for a rare birdie. Moments later, Ko double bogied that hole, and Inbee went on to capture her 7th career Major.

You Can Make Mistakes, but When It Counts, Close the Deal

So many golfers believe that, in order to win the big tournaments, you have to be flawless. In Gee knows better. She did not have her best game much of the week in Japan, but when she started to struggle, she doubled her concentration to make sure her mistakes were not large ones. Thus she stayed close, which was the key.

As her week wound down, she remained two shots behind the Japanese leaders most of the back nine. She didn’t panic. Ahead of her, Korean starlet Mi Hyang Lee completed a 2 under par 70 and posted a clubhouse score of 2 under total. That was the goal. Chun made birdie to get to that level, and it then became imperative that she not make another mistake.

In Gee after another birdie

However, the 18th hole loomed. Chun had bogied this monster all three previous days. She was at 2 under. Another bogey, and that’s it for the week. She HAD to make par. And she did. When it counted the most, she raised her game. She was still a shot back, but moments later, it was Kikuchi’s turn to miss the crucial putt on that hole.

Putting for Dough. In Gee has been the top putter on the KLPGA this season

Enjoy Yourself

There may be no golfer on any tour who enjoys being on a golf course more than In Gee Chun. One who may be her equal in that department is fellow Korean star So Yeon Ryu. But for some reason, So Yeon, who contends often, rarely closes the deal and gets the trophy. Why?

I think the difference is that Ryu forgets what gets her there in the first place. She feels the pressure, and that affects her performance. At the Japanese Women’s Open, Ryu led the first two days, and came into the fourth round just two shots back (and one shot ahead of Chun). But almost immediately on Sunday, things got away from her. She made bogey after bogey right out of the gate, and in the space of half an hour had knocked herself right out of the tournament.

So Yeon Ryu putting in round 3

In Gee has had moments like that, too, but generally she finds a way to stay centered when she is out there. That was how she won the US Women’s Open in July: while her nearest competitors made big mistakes, In Gee was giving high fives to the fans along the ropes. Her goal was to “enjoy every moment”, and that’s exactly what she did. To a large degree, that is why she won the big prize.

In Gee usually has a smile on her face when playing

In Gee the Record Setter

Think about some of the things In Gee has accomplished this year.

In Gee earlier this year

She has risen to 8th in the Rolex Rankings; she would currently be on the Korean Olympic team if that decision were made today (but there is still a lot of time to go!).

She has won seven events on three different tours, and has somehow managed to remain the top player in Korea despite all the traveling she does so she can play in Europe, Asia and America.

In Gee gets flowers at the airport after returning from Japan

She won the first two events she ever played on the Japanese tour, both Majors. In the history of golf, I’m not sure if anyone, male or female, has ever made their first two events played on a tour wins at Majors.

She is the first Korean golfer to win Majors in Korea, Japan and America in the same season.

She has won the national championship in Korea, Japan and the US in the past three years.

In Gee greets her fans at the airport

She is the youngest golfer to win two events on the JLPGA in a single season, breaking the record held by Ai Miyazato. She was the youngest to win the Salonpas Cup, the year’s first Major, by about a year.

After her near miss at the KEB Hana Bank last year, one of her main goals this year was to win an LPGA event to earn a tour card for 2016. Mission accomplished at the US Women’s Open.

The KLPGA’s loss in 2016 will be the LPGA’s gain. In Gee Chun is coming, and it will be fantastic watching her compete against the ladies over here on a regular basis!

In Gee meets the press at the airport

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