The 24 rookies that compose the 2003 class are a mixture of world talent as they represent 11 different countries: Brazil; Chile; Denmark; England; France; Japan; Korea; Mexico; Norway; Spain; and the United States.
Christina Kim and Lorena Ochoa earned their 2003 LPGA Tour card by finishing in the top three on the 2002 Futures Tour money list, while the remaining 22 rookies earned their cards at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in October 2002. Players are listed in alphabetical order.
Soo Young Kim, Korea ' One of seven rookies from Korea, Kim qualified for the LPGA Tour on her first attempt. She tied for 15th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn exempt status for the 2003 season. Kim, who will turn 25 on Feb. 28, turned professional in August 2000. She competed on the Korea LPGA (KLPGA) Tour before joining the Futures Tour, where she won the Greater Lima Futures Open in 2002 and tied for second at the Aurora Health Care Futures Charity Classic. In her spare time she enjoys shopping, skiing and going to the movies.
Young Kim, Korea ' Kim played on the KLPGA from 1998-2001, where she won two events. She joined the Futures Tour in 2001 and proceeded to win the Barona Creek Womens Golf Classic. Success kept coming Kims way, as she tied for fourth at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn exempt status for the 2003 season. Kims game has strong roots, as she was a four-time winner on the Korea Golf Association, and in 1997 she triumphed at the Japan Golf Association Junior Championship. Off the course, this 23-year-old enjoys hanging out listening to music.
Ji-Yeon (Jinnie) Lee, Korea ' Lee turned professional in October 2001, and in 2002 recorded three top-10 finishes on the Futures Tour. Her season was highlighted with a tie for third at the Ann Arbor Futures Classic. Lee has non-exempt status for the 2003 season after tying for 56th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. At 5, Kim joins Alison Nicholas as the shortest player on Tour. Her hobbies include going to the movies, swimming and practicing tae kwon do.
Paula Marti, Spain ' A member of the 2002 European Solheim Cup Team, Marti brings a wealth of international success and experience to the LPGA in 2003. In 2002, she won the Evian Ladies European Tour (LET) Order of Merit, won the Australian LPGA Tournament of Champions and placed second at the Weetabix Womens British Open, where she shot four consecutive rounds in the 60s. Marti tied for 31st at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn non-exempt status for 2003. Marti has accepted a sponsor exemption to play in the Safeway PING Presented by Yoplait, March 20-23, at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix. She enjoys tennis, hanging out with friends and going to the beach.
Soo Young Moon, Korea ' The second- youngest player on Tour (five days older than Christina Kim), Moon celebrates her 19th birthday on Feb. 28. She has come a long way in a short period of time considering she began playing the game only six years ago. Moon turned professional in 2002 and tied for 38th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn non-exempt status for the 2003 season. In her spare time, she enjoys reading a good book and playing games.
Lorena Ochoa, Mexico ' Ochoa carries the anticipation and hopes of Mexico in every swing she takes. The eight-time national champion has been dubbed the next Nancy Lopez, and so far she has demonstrated the game to back up such a challenging comparison. Ochoa is exempt for 2003 after finishing first on the 2002 Futures Tour money list, where she won three events. In LPGA competition, she tied for fifth at the 2002 Welchs/Circle K Championship after receiving a sponsor exemption. Additionally, she finished eighth at the 2002 Kraft Nabisco Championship, one of the LPGAs four majors. While at the University of Arizona, she was a two-time NCAA Player of the Year and won eight of 10 events her sophomore year. Ochoa likes to spend her free time reading and water skiing.
Hyun Soon Park, Korea ' Born March 20, 1972, Park has the experience to compete at the highest level of competitive golf. From 1991-2002 she played on the KLPGA Tour, winning six times. Remarkably, Park did not start playing golf until she was 16 and never competed as an amateur. She enjoys water skiing and qualified for the LPGA Tour on her first at- tempt by tying for 65th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn non-exempt status.
Nicole Perrot, Chile ' Perrot turned professional in April 2002 and promptly recorded three top-10 finishes on the Futures Tour. The Santiago resident earned non-exempt status for 2003 after she tied for 65th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. As an amateur, Perrot won the 2001 U.S. Girls Junior Championship and was runnerup at the U.S. Womens Amateur Championship. The 19-year-old began playing golf when she was four and is a fan of all sports. She likes to snow ski, relax on the beach and hang out with her friends. Brief snapshots of the final eight members of the 2003 LPGA Tour rookie class will come in next weeks LPGA News Release.