Rolex Rankings No. 6 and three-time LPGA Tour winner Na Yeon Choi has quietly become a major force on the LPGA Tour. Choi, who is defending her title at the LPGA Hana Bank Championship Presented by SK telecom this week, is vying for the some of the most coveted LPGA awards – the LPGA money list title, the Vare Trophy and the Rolex Player of the Year.
Choi currently sits second on the LPGA Official money list, only $50,950 behind Jiyai Shin. She also ranks second in the contest for the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average. Choi’s average is 69.94, only .05 strokes behind the race’s leader Cristie Kerr who averages 69.89. Choi also has a chance to take the Rolex Player of the Year race. Choi stands fourth, only 42 points behind the leader Yani Tseng.
After missing the first cut of her professional career at the LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans in June, Choi has arguably been the most consistent performer on Tour. The week after the LPGA Championship, Choi won her third LPGA career title in a four-way playoff at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger. She then reeled off two consecutive runner-up finishes at the U.S. Women’s Open and the Evian Masters, followed by a tie for third at the RICOH Women’s British Open and another runner-up at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola. Choi has finished 16th or higher in her last nine LPGA tournaments.
Choi also leads the Tour in five statistical categories. She is first in birdies, first in rounds under par, first in rounds in the 60’s, first in sand saves, and tied for first in greens in regulation putting average. Choi is ranked no lower than 37th in any statistical category tracked by the LPGA.
In her first three years on Tour, Choi has earned nearly $4 million. She has collected three wins – the 2009 Samsung World Championship, 2009 Hana Bank – KOLON Championship and 2010 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger, six runner-up finishes, and 23 other top-10 finishes. She has improved her numbers every year for the last three years in money earned, top-10 finishes and scoring average.