Ko Jin-young to continue LPGA Hall of Fame pursuit at season’s 1st major

April 19, 2023

With her career back on track thanks to a long-awaited victory in March, South Korean LPGA star Ko Jin-young will continue her pursuit of a place in the Hall of Fame at the season’s first major championship this week.

The Chevron Championship tees off on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at The Club at Carlton Woods, just outside Houston, Texas, on Thursday (local time). For its first five decades, the tournament, while undergoing several sponsorship changes, had been played at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. It will now be contested away from the beloved California venue for the first time.

The prestige of the competition hasn’t changed, though. Every golfer inside the top 20 in the world rankings will compete this week, including the top three: Lydia Ko of New Zealand, Nelly Korda of the United States and Ko Jin-young of South Korea.

Ko Jin-young is the 2019 champion and is the current leader of the Player of the Year standings with 41 points.

Ko had a dismal final stretch in 2022 while battling through a nagging wrist injury, but returned with a vengeance in March this year by defending her title at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore.

The victory pushed her Hall of Fame point total to 19.

To qualify for the Hall of Fame, an LPGA member must accumulate at least 27 points. A regular tournament win and an Olympic gold medal are each worth one point, and a major title is good for two points. Players must also win at least one of the following: a major championship, the Player of the Year award, and the Vare Trophy, given annually to the golfer with the lowest scoring average.

Ko has won 12 regular events and two major championships, along with two Player of the Year awards and one Vare Trophy.

Ko has often said the goal since the start of her career has been to enter the Hall of Fame. It currently has two South Korean members: Pak Se-ri and Park In-bee.

Chun In-gee, another South Korean star in the field this week, has a long way to go to catch up with Ko, but a win this week would be a monumental one for the 28-year-old.

Chun has so far won three different majors: the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, the 2016 Evian Championship and the 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She will complete the career grand slam by capturing the Chevron Championship, her fourth different major title.

The LPGA Tour has had five majors per season since 2013. During the four-major era, six players completed the career slam. And so far in the five-major era, Park In-bee has been the only one to win four different majors.

Chun had a chance to join that exclusive company at last year’s AIG Women’s Open, where she lost to Ashleigh Buhai in a playoff.

Other South Koreans in the field include major winners Ryu So-yeon, Park Sung-hyun, Kim A-lim, Kim Sei-young, Ji Eun-hee, Kim Hyo-joo and Lee Jeong-eun.