In Gee Chun has shown a career-long ability to overcome and exceed.
Growing up in South Korea, Chun was focused on a career in math since she tested to a genius level IQ. By age 11, her father took her to a driving range and she performed poorly on her first tries. When teased about her lack of ability in golf, she spent the remainder of the day practicing and started a path toward a professional golf career, a route further necessitated when both her parents lost their jobs.
By age 20, she had captured the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, firing a final-round 66 and tying the 72-hole mark of 272.
In early March, when arriving to play in the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore, loose luggage at the Singapore airport rolled into her back, forcing the 21-year-old to withdraw from the tournament and to miss all of March.
“During the time I had injury treatments back in Korea, I was so depressed and I lost my appetite and motivation,” Chun said. “Once I got here, I began to get my motivation back.”
“Here” was week of ANA Inspiration, the first major championship of the year. Chun received further treatment on her back from her Mission Hills-based trainer and felt good things were about to happen. She was in contention all week and placed T2, one stroke behind winner Lydia Ko.
The finish propelled her to sixth in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. She is also the third-ranked South Korean women, putting her in position to make both the UL International Crown team (determined on June 13) and the South Korean Olympic team (determined on July 11).
Chun has been dynamic this season, with three finishes of top three or better as she searches for her first victory as an LPGA rookie. She leads the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings, is second in scoring (69.25 average) and third in putting (28.33 putts per round).
This week’s Lotte Championship presented by Hershey offers her another spotlight. Paired with veteran Paula Creamer and teenager Brooke Henderson in the first two rounds, the player nicknamed “Dumbo” will aim to continue her ascent.
Her record in 2016:
|Coates Golf Championship
|Honda LPGA Thailand