Sei Young Kim ushers in new wave of Korean players

By Randall MellFebruary 9, 2015, 12:24 am

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Here they come.

A young, new wave of South Koreans coming over to make a name in the LPGA ranks.

A gifted new wave of rookies.

Sei Young Kim’s sudden-death playoff victory Sunday at the Pure Silk Bahamas shouldn’t have surprised anyone. Inbee Park told us this was going to happen. She told us a day before the LPGA’s season opener at Golden Ocala last week.

Park knew Americans might not be familiar with all the South Koreans coming through Q-School in December, but she knew them.

“I’ve played with most of them,” Park said. “We can almost not call them rookies. I think this is probably one of the strongest rookie classes the LPGA is going to have, especially for Korean players.

“The last few years, no new faces were coming over. This year, all of a sudden, a lot of good KLPGA players are coming over.”

What inspired this strong, new wave?


Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic: Articles, videos and photos


Kim might have answered that after hoisting the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic trophy when she was asked what the victory meant to her.

“I joined the LPGA in hopes of making the Korean Olympics team,” Kim said through a translator. “This is one step towards that. So, this means a lot to me.”

With a 4-foot birdie putt at the first hole of the playoff, Kim defeated two-time LPGA winner Sun Young Yoo and fellow rookie Ariya Jutanugarn.

“It’s definitely a dream,” Kim said through a translator. “Since 10 years, it’s what I dreamed.”

Kim, 22, isn’t your typical rookie. Yes, she earned her tour card tying for sixth at LPGA Q-School in December, but she’s a seasoned, world-class player. She’s a five-time winner on the Korean LPGA Tour. This was the fifth playoff she has won as a pro. She will jump to No. 23 in the newest Rolex Women’s World Rankings with the victory.

Last week, Ha Na Jang made a run at winning the LPGA season opener in her rookie debut. Jang narrowly missed out on forcing a playoff with Na Yeon Choi at the Coates Golf Championship when her final birdie putt slid past the hole. Jang was the KLPGA Player of the Year two years ago. She climbed to No. 18 in the world with her second-place finish in her LPGA debut.

With Choi winning the season opener, that’s back-to-back victories for the South Koreans to start the year. It was nearly back-to-back victories for South Korean rookies with Jang coming so close.

Kim is a long hitter. She was fifth in the field in driving distance at the Pure Silk. She led the KLPGA Tour in driving distance the last two seasons.

“She is a long hitter, and she’s consistent,” Jutanugarn said.

The 18th hole, used in the playoff, is a par 5. Kim was the only player in the playoff to reach it in two shots. She carved a 23-degree hybrid from 215 yards to the back of the green, leaving herself a 25-footer for eagle. She two-putted from there for the victory.

“The first time I caddie for her was at LPGA Q-School,” said Paul Fusco, her caddie. “I knew right away this girl had it. She had the shot making, the consistency, the determination, the intangibles. Some things, you just know.”

Now LPGA fans outside South Korean know it, too.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

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Rory faces criticism

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President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

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Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


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Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

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Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

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Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm