Counting down the LPGA's top 12 stories of 2012: No. 3

Photo Credit: Victor Fraile/Getty Images for Mission Hills

Se Ri Pak of South Korea smiles on the 18th tee during day four of the Mission Hills Start Trophy tournament at Mission Hills Resort on October 30, 2010 in Haikou, China. The Mission Hills Star Trophy is Asia's leading leisure liflestyle event and features Hollywood celebrities and international golf stars. counts down to the end of 2012 with the LPGA Tour's 12  top stories of the year. Join us as we look back at the year's most memorable milestones. Read about the Asian Sweep in Story No. 3.

Asian Sweep


The LPGA Tour returned to Blackwolf Run this summer for the first time since Se Ri Pak sparked a surge in women’s golf in South Korea with her dramatic victory in Kohler, Wis. at the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open. So perhaps it was only fitting that this year’s majors provided a glimpse into the lasting impact that Pak has had on the LPGA Tour


When Jiyai Shin captured her nine-shot victory at the RICOH Women’s British Open in September at Hoylake, it meant that for the first time in the LPGA’s history all four major titles in a season were won by Asian-born players.


Shin was the third South Korean to win a major in 2012, joining Sun Young Yoo who captured the Kraft Nabisco Championship and Na Yeon Choi who followed up her idol Pak’s victory at Blackwolf Run with her first major championship win at the U.S. Women’s Open. Shanshan Feng also became the first player from mainland China to win on the LPGA Tour back in June when she captured the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Feng’s win was certainly monumental and perhaps its impact could be very similar in China to what Pak’s win meant for South Korean golf.


The sweep by Asian players of the majors this year comes 14 years after Pak revolutionized golf in South Korea by capturing two straight LPGA majors to begin her career in 1998, the McDonald’s LPGA Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open. But Pak wasn’t the first Asian-born player to win a major championship. Chako Higuchi of Japan earned that distinction when she won the 1977 LPGA Championship.


And while a sweep of the majors is certainly a milestone, success in majors is nothing new for Asian players. They’ve now won nine of the last 12 majors on the LPGA Tour.

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