Lee Jeong-eun wins LPGA’s top rookie award
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.