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Korean female golfers challenge for most LPGA wins

Posted August. 08, 2017 07:08,   

Updated August. 08, 2017 07:25

Kim In-kyung won the British Women's Open on Monday, enabling Korean golfers grab four major titles at the U.S. LPGA Tour. Ryu So-yeon, Danielle Kang and Park Sung-hyun have become the queens of major competitions.

When one wins all major titles of the year she gets an honorable title of grand slam. There is only one major competition left this season that will be held on September 14 at the 2017 Evian Championship in France. If a Korean wins there, Koreans will complete a Korean slam in LPGA Tour.

Recently, the 2017 Evian Championship has been dominated by Koreans. In seven competitions since 2010, Korea churned out four winners of Kim Hyo-ju (2014), Lydia Koh (2015) and Chu In-gee (2016). Some critics say the such a victory has been possible due to the mountainous golf course, which is similar to golf courses in Korea. This could enable more possibility of Koreans grabbing five major titles.

Korean players are sweeping golf competitions this year, either big or small. Kim In-kyung had wins for four successive weeks for the first time, and Koreans jointly had 12 wins in 22 competitions this season. Added three more wins in the 12 remaining competitions, Korea will match the 15 wins made in 2015, the highest on record. Hitting a new milestone is also imminent. If Haru Nomura, who is a foreign national with a Korean mother, is included, the number of wins Koreans can grasp increases to 14.

Korean female golfers' ability has upward leveled with more than half listed on top 10 every competition. Among them are Kim In-Kyung and Park In-bee, who had been trained in the U.S. and in their late 20s, as well as Park Sung-hyun, Kim Se-young and Kim Hyo-joo, who are in their mid-20s and went overseas after ranking No. 1 in Korea. "Korean players are contending for victory confident they can win," golf commentator Lim Kyung-bin said. "Sluggish performance of Lydia Koh and Ariya Jutanugarn who had made nine combined wins last year, as well as the absence of massive U.S. players have also helped."

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com