As Jin Young Ko lined up her birdie putt to win the ANA Inspiration, Jeongeun Lee6 followed her compatriot across the bridge at Poppie’s Pond to watch Ko win her first major.
Lee6 is looking to follow up Ko’s first season with a strong rookie season of her own.
The Louise Suggs Rookie of the year award has been won by a Korean for four consecutive years. Sei Young Kim, In Gee Chun, Sung Hyun Park and most recently Jin Young Ko have all taken home Rookie of the Year honors.
Lee6 recognizes the history in front of her, telling LPGA.com that, "Korean players have won the 'Rookie of the Year' since 2015, but getting this title is not a goal for me, because if I set Rookie of the Year it would be too much pressure."
Lee6 instead has a different goal in mind. "I want to finish top 10 in every tournament as much as I can. If I accomplish that, eventually I will be the Rookie of the Year."
Lee6 has the pedigree to continue the Korean run of dominance in the award. She turned pro in 2015, honing her game in Korea with seven career victories on the KLPGA before making it to the LPGA through Q-Series this year. She focused on developing her course management before making the jump, and the consistency has shown in the early parts of the 2019 season.
Lee6 shot 71 all four rounds of her first major as a professional. In twenty rounds, she’s shot over par only three times. Her course management philosophy is honed down to a simple phrase.
“I’m taking it shot by shot.”
That course management is has led Lee6 to accomplish her goal twice. First in her opening event as an LPGA member at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Then at the ANA Inspiration, holing a downhill chip just under the grandstands on the 18th for eagle to rise to a T6 at (-4).
As Lee6 noted, It’s not difficult to imagine another Korean taking home the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year award if she accomplishes her goal.
Lee6 is currently in the lead in the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year race by 101 points, ahead of Kristen Gillman who matched her T6 effort in Rancho Mirage.