S. Korean LPGA golfers on pace to set new wins record in one season

July 15, 2015
Clockwise from top left, In Gee Chun, Inbee Park, Na Yeon Choi and Sei Young Kim have all took part in the 10 LPGA Tour wins by South Korean players so far in the 2015 season. (AP Photos)

Clockwise from top left, In Gee Chun, Inbee Park, Na Yeon Choi and Sei Young Kim have all took part in the 10 LPGA Tour wins by South Korean players so far in the 2015 season. (AP Photos)

By Brian Han

South Korean golfers are winning at a historic pace so far in the LPGA Tour’s 2015 season.

With the latest victory by In Gee Chun at the U.S. Women’s Open in Lancaster, Penn., the number has increased to 10 wins in just 17 events.

The most wins South Koreans have accumulated over a a single season are 11, which has so far happened twice in the tour’s history — once in 2006 and again in 2009.

If the statistics were to include Lydia Ko (who was born in South Korea, but identifies as a New Zealander) and Minjee Lee (who is of Korean heritage, but identifies as Australian) that number would bump up to 13 wins on the season, which would mean a new record has already been set.

The LPGA is entering a new era of golf in which international players are edging out domestic U.S. players on a regular basis. In fact 15 of the season’s 17 events have been won by international players.

The latest results at the U.S. Women’s Open had three South Korean players finish in the top-3, which included world No. 1 Inbee Park and multiple-time winner Amy Yang, a trend that is becoming more and more common.

Some have argued that South Korean golfers are making such strong showings, because they are heavily represented in tournaments, but the truth is only 16 percent of the U.S. Women’s Open field was South Korean. Americans represented over 30 percent of the field.

To be fair, there has been an influx of South Korean players within the last two decades or so and much of that was sparked by Se Ri Pak in 1998 when she won two majors at the age of 20. She went on to win 25 times on the LPGA Tour and 39 times worldwide inspiring a whole new  generation of female golfers along the way.

Many South Korean LPGA golfers will mention her in some way or another when it comes down to their role models or even the reason they picked up a club in the first place.

The next tournament will begin on Thursday in Sylvania, Ohio where Lydia Ko will defend her title at the Marathon Classic.

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