The 2023 season on the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour concluded on Tuesday with Yang Hee-young winning the CME Group Tour Championship.
While South Korean women’s golf has been one of the strongest in the world with new star players emerging every year since Park Se-ri joined the LPGA Tour, it hasn’t been able to regain the glory of winning more than 10 tournaments a year before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Korean women combined for five wins on the year with Yang Hee-young’s season-ending victory. Jin-young Ko was the lone winner with two victories, winning the HSBC World Championship and the Founders Cup.
Hae-ran Hae added one win each at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and Hyo-joo Kim at the Ascendant LPGA, but it was a far cry from the 15 wins they shared in 2019.
South Korean women’s golfers have not had the opportunity to showcase their skills since 2020, when tournaments were canceled in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The tournament returned in 2022 and again in 2023, but it didn’t have the “Korean Power” that it once had.
This was largely due to the injury to Ko Jin-young, who had led Korean women’s golf from the front.
Ko dropped from the top spot in the world rankings in the second half of 2022 due to a wrist injury and missed the season opener this year.
He seemed to be back on track with two wins in the first half of the year, but a neck injury followed, and then a knee injury forced him to withdraw from the season-ending Tour Championship.
The fact that he managed to win two tournaments under such adverse conditions is a testament to his performance.
Park In-bee, who was the most dominant player in Korean golf before Ko, did not compete this season due to pregnancy and childbirth.
After a period of struggle, Hyo Joo Kim made a comeback by winning the Ascendant LPGA, but she missed out on the Bare Trophy, which is awarded to the player with the lowest scoring average for the season.
Kim led the field in strokes gained in the second half of the season, but struggled in the final three tournaments and lost the trophy to Ataya Thittitjer (Thailand).
But there was also a harvest. Hae-ran Hae made her debut on the LPGA Tour this season and continued the lineage of Korean rookie winners with a strong showing at the Arkansas Championship.
Lee’s win in 2019 was even more significant as it was the first Korean rookie title in four years.
While the South Koreans have been on the sidelines, the LPGA Tour has seen the emergence of a new force in Lillian Boo (USA).
Boo posted four wins on the year, including two majors, and swept the Player of the Year and money list. 캡틴토토