Women’s season ends with Koreans on topUpon completion of the Ricoh Cup on the JLPGA Tour on Nov. 26, the 2017 season of women’s gold has ended and a total of 12 Korean golfers have exceeded one billion won ($920,000) in prize money throughout the season.
Being the LPGA Tour’s money leader, Park Sung-hyun was also the money leader among the Korean female golfers, earning over 2.53 billion won from playing in both LPGA and KLPGA Tour events. From Park’s 11 top ten finishes, which include her victories at the U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, Park earned about 2.53 billion won. From her two KLPGA Tour events, she earned 11.97 million won.
Park’s earnings this season were 400 million won more than in 2016, when she won six tournaments playing full time on the KLPGA Tour.
Following Park, Ryu So-yeon made 2.14 billion won. Park and Ryu both reached first in the Rolex women’s World Ranking and won the LPGA Tour’s Player of the Year award. Currently, Park is second in the Women’s World Ranking, only 0.04 points behind Shanshan Feng of China. Ryu is third.
Surprisingly, this season Lee Jeong-eun, who won six awards on the KLPGA Tour, has exceeded Lee Min-young, the highest Korean money leader on the JLPGA Tour. Lee Jeong-eun was ranked fifth, behind Chun In-gee and Park Sei-young, who were ranked third and fourth.
Playing in two LPGA Tour events, the U.S. Women’s Open and LPGA KEB-Hana Bank Championship, has helped Lee Jeong-eun, as she won 231 million won by finishing tied for fifth and tied for 52nd in the events. With four KLPGA Tour victories, in addition to playing in two LPGA Tour events, Lee Jeong-eun was able to exceed Lee Min-young, who earned 1.25 billion won on the JLPGA Tour this season.
Looking at the 12 Korean golfers who exceeded 1 billion won in prize money this season, eight were Korean players on the LPGA Tour. Despite Lee Jeong-eun being the only one on the KLPGA Tour to exceed one billion won in prize money, the Tour was probably the most competitive this season, as 10 golfers have won a tournament for the first time.
Not only that, KLPGA Tour players have given LPGA Tour players a run for their money, defeating them 13 to 11 at the 2017 ING Life Champions Trophy Park In-bee Invitational on Sunday. This was the first time the KLPGA team won against the LPGA team since the tournament first started in 2015.
BY KIM JI-HAN, KANG YOO-RIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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