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Koreans Dominating LPGA In Numbers

Posted February. 15, 2007 07:15,   

한국어

Reaching the end of its break of 88 days, the new season of the LPGA Tour is about to open, and Koreans are about become a giant wave crashing onto it.

Starting with the SBS Open, scheduled for February 16 at Turtle Bay Resort (par 72) located in Oahu, Hawaii, 31 tournaments will be held during the nine months of tour, with the ADT Championship being the finale.

As the Koreans had their best season last year, collaborating on 11 tournament wins altogether last season, it is likely they will exercise considerable influence this year, too.

Most of all, they are dominating in terms of numbers. There are up to 49 golfers who are Koreans in nationality or ethnicity. Among the registered players of LPGA, as many as 11 players share the last name, “Kim.”

The balance between the old and young generation looks harmonious as well.

The first generation of Korean LPGA golfers, Pak Se-ri and Kim Mi-hyun, made successful comebacks last year, and are seeking to have their best days once again. “As this is going to be the most meaningful season to me ever, I am going to show off my best,” said Pak Se-ri, who will meet all the conditions required to be inducted into the Hall of Fame after this season.

Lee Mee-na (KTF), Lee Seon-hwa (CJ), Kim Joo-mi (Hite) and Yim Sung-ah (Nonghyup Hansamin) are expected to play more maturely, as they have already experienced tournament wins.

Rookies who will debut this season, including Hong Jin-joo (SK), Kim Song-hee (Fila Korea), Kim In-kyung, and Park In-bee, are also known to be very talented.

Among the major competitors capable to stop the Koreans are the so-called “big-three”—Lorena Ochoa (Mexico), Karrie Webb (Australia) and Annika Sorenstam (Sweden).

Last season, Ochoa won six tournaments, which was the most of all players, and topped the money list. As a result, she was awarded “Player of the Year.” Webb won five tournaments last year and has warmed herself up quite firmly during the last few weeks, winning two European Tour titles in Australia.

With only three wins in last season, Sorenstam was pushed off the top after many years. She has been working hard to restore her former glory. Her first tournament of the new season will take place in Mexico next month.

In the opening tournament, the SBS Open, 36 Korean players are participating. Last year’s winner was Kim Joo-mi, who embraced the trophy after a duel at an extra hole.

SBS Golf Channel will broadcast this event live at 8:00 a.m. each morning from February 16-18.



kjs0123@donga.com