Yaeeun Hong may only be 19 years old, but the 2022 LPGA Tour rookie has accepted the challenge that comes with competing against the world’s best female golfers in stride. The Epson Tour alumna, who finished in a tie for fourth at Stage II of the 2019 LPGA Qualifying Tournament to first earn 2020 Epson Tour membership, earned her LPGA Tour card this past December at LPGA Q-Series. Hong made the cut in her rookie debut last week in the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, finishing T40, and is back in the thick of things at the LPGA Drive On Championship as she heads into the final day at -7 and in a tie for ninth. Though she’s six back from the lead, Hong admitted she enjoys the thrill of chasing those at the top.
“When I'm leading, I think like run away from the runner-up, like second, someone following me. But if I have to catch up, like I can just focus on my game,” said Hong.
Hong recorded four birdies before stumbling No. 13, where she ultimately carded a double bogey after feeling uncomfortable with her driver. She bounced back with a birdie on No. 17 to close out with a second-round 69 in just the fifth LPGA Tour event of her playing career. Hong knows what it’s like to be near the top of the leaderboard, notching six top-10 finishes in 2021 on the Epson Tour. She hopes to use that experience to create a career-defining moment for herself tomorrow in Fort Myers.
“I put it in the leaderboard like couple tournaments and I thought I was little like not comfortable during the final round every day and like always runner-up, top 5, and no wins,” said Hong, who finished 16th in last year’s Race for the Card. “I think I can play more easier tomorrow because it's LPGA and I'm rookie, no pressure. Just enjoying this game and tournament. It will be fine.”