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U.S. Open winner Lee named Rookie of the Year

Oct 12,2019
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Lee Jeong-eun
Lee Jeong-eun was named as the 2019 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year on the LPGA Tour on Thursday.

After playing in 20 tournaments this season, Lee topped the rookie of the year points standing at 1,273 points, a good 756 points ahead of runner-up Kristen Gillman of the United States. With a win, Lee continued Korean golfers’ rookie dominance on the LPGA Tour.

“For five consecutive years, Korean golfers have won this Rookie of the Year award,” Lee was quoted as saying on the LPGA website. “I’m part of that list, and I’m so proud and honored.”

Before Lee, Ko Jin-young won the award in 2018 and this year, Ko is the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world. Kim Sei-young first started the streak in 2015 and Chun In-gee and Park Sung-hyun continued by winning the awards in 2016 and the 2017 season.

“This is all thanks to those players who came before me, who have all given me so much advice,” Lee was quoted as saying. “Since the season is almost over, I want to finish strong for the rest of our tournaments and perform well.”

Lee joined the LPGA Tour this season by winning the LPGA Q-Series in November 2018.

Before Lee joined the Tour, she was already a dominant player on the KLPGA Tour. She was named the KLPGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 2016 and continued her dominance in 2017, as she won four tournaments. Winning four tournaments was good enough for Lee to take the KLPGA Tour’s Player of the Year honors, money ranking and scoring average.

In 2018, Lee split her time playing on both the LPGA Tour and KLPGA Tour. Despite the limited time, Lee still managed to pick up two wins on the KLPGA Tour. From her outstanding career in the KLPGA, Lee was already ranked No. 20 in the world ranking last year, when she announced that she’ll be playing on the LPGA Tour.

In her first year on the LPGA Tour this year, Lee only picked up one win, but it was enough for her to leave quite some impression as she won the U.S. Women’s Open, one of the five major tournaments.

She’s been consistent on the LPGA Tour, recording eight top-10 finishes in 20 tournaments. Lee is ranked second on the money ranking this season.

BY KANG YOO-RIM [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]