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Slumping S. Korean golfer searches for career turning point

October 25, 2019

It all seemed to come easy for Chun In-gee. She captured her first LPGA title as a 20-year-old nonmember at the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, considered the most prestigious of the five majors. The following year, Chun won her second major at the Evian Championship at 21-under par, the lowest in relation to par at a major championship by either a male or a female golfer.

But Chun has had just one victory since, at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea in October 2018. The tournament has been replaced by the BMW Ladies Championship as the only LPGA stop in the country each fall, and Chun is hoping that competing on home soil this week will jumpstart what was once a promising career.

Chun In-gee of South Korea tees off on the 10th hole during the first round of the BMW Ladies Championship at LPGA International Busan in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Oct. 24, 2019. (Yonhap)
Chun In-gee of South Korea tees off on the ninth hole during the first round of the BMW Ladies Championship at LPGA International Busan in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Oct. 24, 2019. (Yonhap)

Chun In-gee of South Korea tees off on the 10th hole during the first round of the BMW Ladies Championship at LPGA International Busan in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Oct. 24, 2019. (Yonhap)

Other than the lone win in 2018, Chun had three other top-10s in 20 starts. And in 21 tournaments so far this year, Chun has had one top-10 finish with five missed cuts.

“I just want to give myself a turning point,” Chun said Thursday after shooting a two-under 70 in the first round at LPGA International Busan. “I’ve had a lot of thoughts going through my head. And I found myself getting obsessed with golf. The harder I tried, the worse things were going for me.”

Chun, 25, said as she started getting more hopeful that she had it all figured out, she only ended up putting more pressure on herself to prove that on the course.

“I’ve been trying to be too perfect, and it’s been quite stressful,” she added. “But on a more positive note, I think I’ve been playing golf the way I wanted myself to play. There are just a few events left this season, but I’ll try to finish off as well as I can, and take a positive mindset into the winter.”

Chun played her first round in fickle weather conditions, with a mix of light drizzle, sunshine and heavy rain.

“My goal is to go as low as I can, and give my best on every shot,” she said. “The course is in great shape. I think I got off to a pretty good start. It’d be great to get my name at the top of the leaderboard. I just have to prepare myself to make it happen.

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