Lee Jeong-eun Sets Sights on LPGA's Rookie of the Year Award

  • By Min Hak-soo

    January 04, 2019 11:35

    Golfer Lee Jeong-eun aims to become the fifth Korean in a row to win this year's Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year in her first season on the U.S. LPGA Tour. She was speaking at a press conference on Thursday ahead of her debut on the Tour next month.

    Lee won the LPGA Tour's inaugural eight-round Q-Series last November. She will leave for Thailand on Jan. 15 for training and make her LPGA debut at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in early February. 

    Koreans have won the Tour's Rookie of the Year award for the past four years: Kim Sei-young in 2015, Chun In-gee in 2016, Park Sung-hyun in 2017 and Ko Jin-young in 2018.

    Lee Jeong-eun speaks at a press conference in Seoul on Thursday. /Yonhap

    Lee, who has worked hard on her English since last month, said she spoke to her new caddie Adam Woodward for the first time by phone earlier Thursday. Woodward has worked with Charley Hull, Yoo Sun-young and other star players during his 20-year career.

    Her parents also attended the conference. "My father has a disability and my mother is not in good health. After staying in the U.S. with me for about three months, she will return home to take care of my father. They tell me not to worry, but I'm concerned about them as a daughter," she said.

    Her father has been in a wheelchair since he had a car accident when Lee was 4 years old. Facing financial difficulties earlier in her career, Lee would sometimes drive to tournaments in her father's wheelchair-accessible car.

    Lee has already played in seven LPGA events. In her first, the U.S. Women's Open in 2017, she created a sensation by finishing fifth. At that time, U.S. broadcaster Fox TV dubbed her "Lee Jeong-eun6," as she shared the most popular name on the KLPGA Tour with five other players.

    "I took pictures of every hole at the courses I first visited, and tried to get familiar with them. I will do the same on the LPGA," Lee said. 

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