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Choi Hye-jin aims to take off again at Jeju Samdasoo Masters

Choi Hye-jin aims to take off again at Jeju Samdasoo Masters

Posted August. 09, 2019 07:35,   

Updated August. 09, 2019 07:35


Choi Hye-jin, who has emerged as a major player in the Korea LPGA (KLPGA) Tour in her second year as a professional golfer, exuded the confidence of "fearless 20-somethings." Leading the tour by winning four championships in the first half of this year's tour alone, Choi could not wait to play in the Jeju Samdasoo Masters at Ora Country Club in Jeju, Jeju Island. To her, the event is an opportunity to recover from her disappointing performances overseas and take off again. "Let bygones be bygones," she told the Dong-A Ilbo on Thursday. "I am determined to start from scratch in Jeju."

She recently returned home from the Evian Championship and the AIG Women's British Open, two of major LPGA Tour championships. She took instant cook rice and kimchi with her to prepare for the overseas events that lasted more than two weeks, while working on her swings just before departure. However, she finished joint 49th in the Evian Championship and was eliminated from the contest in the British Open. "I had high expectations after getting on an upward trajectory in Korea," she said. "I felt so frustrated to have collapsed in the games despite the good feeling during the practice rounds. The experience gave me an opportunity to return to where I started, making me think that I still have a long way to go."

To make matters worse, she sustained an unexpected injury. Asked why she had a "KeepYourEyesOpen" hashtag on her Instagram page, she said it was because of her injury. Choi said she sprained her ankle by accidentally stepping on a sprinkler buried in the rough while rounding the course ahead of the Evian Championship. "I had taping and applied ice packs, but it still hurt," the 19-year-old said.

As she returned in disappointment, Choi could not take a long break. When she woke up in the middle of the night, she went to a health club near her home in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province to work out. Nicknamed "penguin," she says she is determined to get back on her feet again like penguins that fall on the icy ground but get back up again to walk to their goal. "I will work hard until I am satisfied with myself, she said. “I will work on my short game, and I want to become a golfer with a solid heart who do not get shaken by big games.”

Yun-Cheol Jeong trigger@donga.com