LEE6 THANKFUL FOR FAMILY SUPPORT
While Jeongeun Lee6 did not have her family physically in Charleston, she knew her father Jung Ho Lee and mother Eun Ji Ju were back in her native Republic of Korea, supporting her from afar. When Lee6 was 4, her father was paralyzed when he fell asleep behind the wheel of the truck he drove for a living. Lee6 sees her success as a professional athlete as a means of supporting the family that has given so much to her.
“I thought about wanting to play golf because I wanted to support my family no matter what,” said Lee6. “And after I became like successful in KLPGA for three years, thinking about that, this makes me want to play more and kind of wanted to play in the tournament enjoyable.”
THOMPSON, GREEN LOOKING FOR POSITIVES
Playing together in the day’s penultimate group, Americans Lexi Thompson and Jaye Marie Green struggled on Sunday. Playing with a much-discussed new claw putting grip, Thompson started the round with three bogeys over her first four holes. She showed signs of a comeback with birdies at holes 7 and 9, but her forward progress came to a halt with two more bogeys on No. 11 and 13. A closing birdie put a positive finish on her 2-over 73.
“There's a lot of positives to take with where my game's at,” said Thompson, whose second-play finish is her career best at the U.S. Women’s Open. “Today wasn't my best ball striking, but the other three days, I think I hit it great with what I've been working on. So I'm definitely going to stick with that.”
Green had a final-round 74 that featured five bogeys to just two birdies. Nevertheless, that fifth-place finish is the best showing of her LPGA Tour career.
“I did not feel nervous, which was crazy. Like usually, I would feel that,” said Green, whose previous best finish was tie for sixth at the 2015 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic. “It was just golf, and I feel like I could live with that more. If I messed up coming down the stretch because of nerves, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. But knowing I gave it my all and it just, just didn't go my way, I could feel a little better about that because I gave it all I could. There's nothing, going back, oh, I should have done this, because I really put my whole heart into every shot I hit.”
BOUTIER LEARNS FROM TOUGH DAY IN CHARLESTON
Playing in the final group of a major championship is a tough proposition for even the most seasoned golfer. Third-year LPGA Tour player Celine Boutierstarted the day at the top of the field but struggled with nerves all day, tumbling down the leaderboard with a final-round 75. While the day was certainly not what she expected, she is working to find the positives from a difficult 18 holes.
“I was pretty nervous all day, even in the morning when I wasn't even on the course,” said Boutier, who became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open. “Obviously majors are a different situation, but it's always good to be in this position, I guess, for the future.
ACE FOR LYDIA
The par-3 11th, the famed reverse Redan at the Country Club of Charleston, did not provide too many highlights this week. But to cap off the week, it served up an ace for former World No. 1 Lydia Ko. To the delight of the crowd gathered in the greenside grandstand, Ko rolled one in on Sunday from 159 yards, using her 6-iron.
“All I wanted to do is just like go somewhere on the green or on grass, and it landed on the green,” said Ko, whose only other ace in competition came at the 2016 Summer Olympics. “There was a pretty big roar, even as soon as it landed on the green, and I was like, oh, they must be happy or excited. And it was tracking, and I think it almost lipped in. My putts weren't lipping in, so it's good to see my 6-iron lipping in.”
All aces in the 2019 LPGA Tour season are recognized via the CME Group Cares Challenge, a charitable giving program that turns aces into donations. CME Group will donate $20,000 for each hole-in-one made on the LPGA Tour in 2019, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $500,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Ko’s ace was the 10th of the 2019 LPGA Tour season, raising the year’s total donation to $200,000. This is enough to cover more than half of the treatment for a pediatric patient battling lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer.
Rolex Rankings No. 17 Jeongeun Lee6 (70-69-69-70)
- She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens, with 30 putts
- Lee6 is a 2019 LPGA Tour rookie; she earned her Membership by taking medalist honors at the 2018 LPGA Q Series
- This is Lee6's ninth event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she has three additional top-10 finishes and no finish worse than a tie for 26th
- She uses a 6 at the end of her last name as she is the sixth player named Jeongeun Lee6 in KLPGA history; her fan club in Korea is called "Lucky 6"
- Lee6 is also a member of the KLPGA Tour, where she has six career victories
- As a non-Member, Lee6 finished T5 at the 2018 U.S. Women's Open and T6 at the 2018 Evian Championship
- Lee6 currently leads the Rolex Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year standings with 752 points
- Lee6 is the third Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2019 LPGA Tour season, joining Celine Boutier (ISPS Handa Vic Open) and Bronte Law (Pure Silk Championship presented by Visit Williamsburg)
- She is the 19th player to make the U.S. Women’s Open her first LPGA Tour victory
- She is the 16th player from the Republic of Korea to win a major, the most of any country other than the United States