Lee Jeong-eun wins LPGA’s top rookie award

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

South Korean LPGA star Lee Jeongeun has clinched the top rookie prize on the premier women’s tour, be­com­ing the fifth straight from her coun­try to be so hon­ored.

The LPGA Tour an­nounced Thurs­day (U.S. East­ern Time) that Lee, world No. 4, has won the 2019 Rookie of the Year award.

The 2019 U.S. Women’s Open cham­pion has earned 1,273 points in the rookie stand­ings, hold­ing an in­sur­mount­able, 756-point lead over her clos­est pur­suer, Kris­ten Gillman of the United States, with five tour­na­ments left this year.

Rook­ies earn points based on their fin­ishes, with a reg­u­lar tour ti­tle worth 150 points and a ma­jor vic­tory good for 300 points. In ad­di­tion to her ma­jor ti­tle from June, Lee is tied for first on the tour with 10 top-10 fin­ishes.

She ranks sec­ond in money with just over $1.91 mil­lion, trail­ing only fel­low South Korean Ko Jin-young ($2.63 mil­lion).

Lee also sits be­hind Ko in the Player of the Year stand­ings, and is in­side the top 10 in scor­ing av­er­age, birdies, eagles, greens in reg­u­la­tion and rounds un­der par.

“For five con­sec­u­tive years, Korean golfers have won this Rookie of the Year award. I’m part of that list, and I am so proud and hon­ored,” Lee told the LPGA Tour. “This is all thanks to those play­ers who came be­fore me, who have all given me so much ad­vice. Since the sea­son is al­most over, I want to finish strong for the rest of our tour­na­ments and per­form well.”

Lee fol­lowed Ko, Park Sung-hyun, Chun In-gee and Kim Sei-young as the tour’s best rookie, and is the 13th Korean over­all to grab the top rookie prize, which was first handed out in 1962.

A for­mer star on the Korean tour, Lee earned her LPGA mem­ber­ship by fin­ish­ing first at the qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment, or the Q-Se­ries, last fall. She hes­i­tated be­fore de­cid­ing to take her tal­ent to the U.S. cir­cuit, and she ended tied for 10th in her LPGA de­but at the Women’s Aus­tralian Open in Fe­bru­ary.

She cap­tured her maiden ti­tle at the U.S. Women’s Open, the old­est of the five LPGA ma­jors. She also earned run­ner-up fin­ishes at three other events.

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