A Lot of New Faces are Joining Will the Korean Wind blow Again on the LPGA?

This is the number of wins per year by Korean players on the LPGA Tour over the past five years. The Korean players who dominated the LPGA tour

including key players who swept the ‘Player of the Year’ awards such as Inbee Park, Sung-Hyun Park, Jin-Young Ko, and Se-Young Kim, with 15 wins each in 2015, 2017, and 2019

unfortunately began to decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supply decreased and the country fell into a recession.

However, it would be good to expect a definite upward trend in 2024.

The increase from 4 wins last year to 5 wins this year does not mean that we have simply ‘hit bottom.’

The number of Korean players competing on the American stage, which had slowed down in recent years, has begun to increase again.

First of all, a lot of new faces are joining. In the 2023 LPGA Tour Q Series, which ended on December 6 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course in Mobile 토토사이트

Alabama, the Korean Ladies Professional Golf (KLPGA) Tour powerhouses So-mi Lee, Yu-jin Sung, and Jin-hee Lim passed and obtained full seeds for next season.

Somi Lee, who won five times on the domestic tour, took second place in the LPGA Q Series, which was held over six days.

Seong Yu-jin, who has 3 wins in total, including 2 wins this season, tied for 7th place, and Lim Jin-hee, the strongest player in Korea this year (4 wins), tied for 17th place, crossing the passing line (20th).

Hong Jeong-min, who tied for 45th place and received a parallel card for the 1st and 2nd division tours, realistically will not be able to play on the LPGA main stage next year

but has laid the foundation for her activities in the United States. In addition, Jeon Ji-won and Kang Min-ji

who received full seeds next year by entering the top 10 in prize money on the LPGA 2nd division tour (Epson Tour)

have joined, and rookie Jang Hyo-jun, who qualified by playing the Q series again due to poor performance this year, has also added to thicken the player base.

The LPGA Tour Q Series is the gateway to the United States for Korean players.

Se-ri Pak entered the LPGA tour after passing Q School in 1997 and 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 (6 added to differentiate from other Korean LPGA golfers with the same name) 

Anna-rin, and Yoo Hae-ran enjoyed the joy of passing the top honors. Most Korean players who reached their peak after the mid-2000s made a soft landing on the LPGA tour through the Q Series.

This time, the three successful candidates moving directly from the KLPGA tour to the LPGA tour are the largest number since 2019.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the atmosphere of reluctance to expand overseas has changed to fostering challenge and competition. More players are preparing to knock on the LPGA next year than this year.

The existing players who combined for five wins this year each achieved meaningful results and raised hopes for the new season.

Jinyoung Ko continued her seven-year winning streak (15th overall) with her second win of the season at the HSBC Women’s World Championship (February) and the Cognizant Pounder’s Cup (May).

Although she came down from No. 1 in the world, it was a resurgent season that completely washed away her anxiety about the end of 2022, when she was limited to just one win due to a wrist injury.

Yoo Hae-ran achieved her first win of her debut season at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship (October). Hyo-joo Kim also won the Volun Tears of America Classic (October), marking her third consecutive win (sixth overall win).

With her first win, Yoo Hae-ran achieved her dream of becoming the Rookie of the Year on the KLPGA Tour and the LPGA Tour. The fact that a Korean player has once again continued the lineage of LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year is very meaningful. Since Se-ri Pak in 1997

Korea has produced its 14th LPGA Rookie of the Year following Mi-hyun Kim, Hee-won Han, Si-hyun Ahn, Seon-hwa Lee, Ji-ae Shin, Hee-kyung Seo, So-yeon Ryu, Se-young Kim, In-ji Jeon, Seong-hyun Park, Jin-young Ko, and Jeong-eun Lee6.

After winning the Rookie of the Year award for five consecutive years from Kim Se-young in 2015 to Lee Jeong-eun6 in 2019, Korea

which had been pushed out by Thai players, regained the Rookie of the Year title, which can be seen as a signal that the supply and demand of rookie powerhouses has begun to be properly achieved.

Yang Hee-young, a 16-year LPGA tour veteran, hit the jackpot by winning the CME Group Tour Championship, the final match of the season, and winning $2 million (about 2.6 billion won) in prize money. Yang Hee-young

who won her fifth career trophy four years and nine months after the 2019 Honda LPGA Thailand (February)

broke through the crowd of Korean players who were almost tied to four wins for two consecutive years.

Korean fans, who were disappointed that there was no major tournament win this year after Jeon In-ji’s victory at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last year, cheered when Yang Hee-young won the major tournament with the highest prize money and immediately jumped to second place in the prize money rankings ($3,165,834).

With Yang Hee-young’s win, Korean players recorded 210 LPGA wins since Koo Ok-hee in 1988. More than 25 Korean players will play on the 2024 LPGA Tour.

There are expectations that the 2024 season, with existing players maintaining their potential and a large number of young powers joining, will be the starting point for reviving the glory of the 2010s.

The 2024 Paris Olympics are a good stimulus to bring about friendly competition among Korean female golf players.

After Inbee Park won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where golf was revived as an official sport for the first time in over 100 years

participating in the Olympics has become a dream come true for all athletes.

In the Olympic Golf, where 60 men and women compete, two representatives from each country can participate according to their world rankings until June next year.

To ensure competition among strong players, if there are players ranked in the world’s top 15, two more players were added, allowing up to four players to participate.

Now that the 2023 season has been completed, Korea’s Jin-young Ko (6th), Hyo-joo Kim (7th), and Ji-ae Shin (15th) are ranked eligible to 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 following.

If our players continue to perform well during the first half of next year, it is expected that we will be able to continue the prestige of Korean women’s golf

which had four consecutive players participate in the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Veteran Shin Ji-ae’s performance is especially notable. Ji-ae Shin, who moved to Japan to play after earning her 11th career win (two major wins) on the LPGA Tour, has 64 career wins worldwide as a professional

with one win in Australia and two wins in Japan this year. She also achieved outstanding results in her major tournaments, including 2nd place at the US Women’s Open and 3rd place at the AIG Women’s Open, where she soared to number 15 in the world.

Yang Hee-young also used her season’s final win as a springboard to jump to 16th place and aim for the Taegeuk mark again eight years after the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Yang Hee-young was only in 4th place by 1 stroke at the time, so unfortunately she did not win a medal.

If she wins the LPGA tour in the first half of 2024, her world ranking can quickly rise. It would be the icing on the cake to win a major tournament where many world ranking points are reflected.

Other players on the Japanese and Korean tours also have a chance to turn the tables if they win major tournaments. Not only Shin Ji-ae and Yang Hee-young

but also strong players who are close to becoming national team candidates

such as Yu Hae-ran and Park Min-ji, are rushing to prepare for the winter season with their New Year’s goal of participating in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The floor is now sufficiently compacted. All we have to do is wait for the news of victory from Korean players on the LPGA tour in 2024.

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