The duo clinched the second and third of 10 Tour cards following top finishes at the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.: Two more athletes have mathematically clinched their 2024 LPGA Tour card through the Epson Tour's Race for the Card. Natasha Andrea Oon and Jiwon Jeon have secured their spots on the biggest stage in women's golf, with two tournaments still to play in the 2023 Epson Tour season.
"Securing a spot in the top 10 before the season ends is an incredible feat, and we are very proud of Natasha and Jiwon for being two of three to accomplish that this season," said Jody Brothers, the Epson Tour's Chief Business and Operation Officer. "They are both extraordinary golfers who are ready to take on the LPGA Tour next season. We wish them all the best as they pursue their dreams of competing at the highest level."
Currently No. 2 on the Epson Tour's Official Money List, Oon can officially call herself an LPGA Tour Member for the 2024 season. The news broke after her first Epson Tour victory of the season at the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout in El Dorado, Arkansas. In her rookie season on the Epson Tour in 2023, the Malaysian recorded seven top-10 finishes to accompany her win, four of which were a share of second or better.
"It's so surreal, but it has sunken in for sure," said Oon. "I'm excited for next year, mostly looking at the players I grew up watching, seeing them in front of you on the driving range on a daily basis, learning through them and how they walk, talk and handle themselves. I am in awe of them for sure, so I'm looking forward to learning from them and looking forward to competing with them."
Before making her professional debut on the Epson Tour, the 22-year-old had a decorated amateur career. Oon had a successful four years at San Jose State University but made her name known during her senior season in 2022. The current No. 2 on the Epson Tour money list was honored as the 2021-2022 Mountain West Player of the Year and Inkster Award recipient. She was also named to the 2021-2022 Women's Golf Coaches Association First-Team All-America and earned 2022 NCAA Individual Runner-Up – Stroke Play.
Although Oon knows her dreams will shortly become a reality, the Epson Tour rookie is determined to end her season on a strong note. With just two starts left on the schedule, the Malaysian is vying to become a two-time Epson Tour champion and secure both Rookie and Player of the Year honors. She will also be teeing it up in her home country of Malaysia at the 2023 Maybank Championship, her first LPGA Tour start following her clinch.
"It gives me good momentum for sure. What you can get from a win is just feeling good about yourself, knowing that your game is there and knowing that you can do this," said Oon. "Gabi [Ruffels] is such a strong player, so just to be in contention with her is crazy. I look up to her, what she's done for the tour and what she's done this year. Going into these last two events, I want to really enjoy my time on the Epson Tour because I love the people that work here and play, so I'm going to enjoy it, do my best, and finish out strong."
Jeon, currently No. 3 on the Epson Tour's Official Money List, will return to the LPGA Tour for the first time since early 2022. Jeon made her LPGA Tour debut in 2020, playing 22 events and making seven cuts before competing on the Epson Tour. In her first start on the official qualifying tour, the Republic of Korea native recorded a solo second-place finish. The now 26-year-old proved she is ready to head back to the LPGA Tour in 2024, securing two victories (the Inova Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship and the French Lick Resort Charity Classic) on the Epson Tour in 2023. The pair of wins were accompanied by one additional top-10 finish.
"I can't even describe how I'm feeling. I've been working really hard for this moment, and I'm getting really emotional right now," said Jeon. "It's been a ride, so many ups and downs, but I proved to myself this year that I'm good enough to play on the LPGA Tour. Two wins this year means a lot and proved to myself that I deserve to win and to play on the LPGA Tour, so I'm very happy."
Before making her LPGA Tour debut, Jeon began her collegiate career at Daytona State College before transferring to the University of Alabama. While representing the Crimson Tide, Jeon was ranked as high as No. 6 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and broke the school's 36 and 54-hole records. Adding to an already decorated amateur career, Jeon finished the 2018 U.S. Women's Amateur as runner-up.
Despite securing her membership for the 2024 LPGA Tour season, Jeon is focused on the final two weeks of the Epson Tour season. With a strong finish, she could join fellow 2023 Epson Tour graduate Gabriela Ruffels in the three-win column.
"It's always good to be back in Tuscaloosa and Daytona," said Jeon. "I'm going to celebrate with my friends and my coaches, thank my coaches because they helped me get to this level, and I'm really happy for all of us right now. I'm going to enjoy the next two weeks."