Volume 1, Number 19 December 3, 2003

2003 Awards

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Greatest shot no one (in the US) saw
Se Ri Pak saves par, hole 13, 2nd round, SBS Championship
Se Ri's tenth place in a men's event is the greatest golf story of 2003 that the West has managed to effectively ignore. The recent failure of Sophie Gustafson to make a cut in a men's event emphasizes once again just how impressive what Se Ri did in that KPGA event was. And the most impressive moment came on Friday, when she was working to make the cut. She had put herself in good position when she hit a tough stretch of holes. On 13, she hit a poor drive into a fairway bunker, then hit a terrible out right into the water. She now had a pitch shot, over that water to a tucked pin position. She had avoided a big number all week, but a double or triple bogey looked likely. She hit her 4th shot, however, to within just a couple feet of the hole and easily saved bogey. She would go on to make the cut by several strokes. It was a gutsy hole that not only saved her momentum, but helped her to turn the tide back in her favor. She never did get worse than a bogey all week, by the way.

Se Ri on Friday at the KPGA's
SBS Championship

Hee-Won did a lot of celebrating this summer

Best sustained run of golf
Hee-Won Han, July and August
I could have picked Se Ri's 13 straight top tens (including the men's event), which was an awfully impressive run, or Grace Park's ten straight top tens. But I'm going to go with Hee-Won Han's late summer run. From July 20, when she won her first ever title, through to the end of August, when she clinched the State Farm Series, not an event went by (save the British Open) where Hee-Won was not firmly at or very near the top of the leader board. In that stretch she managed a win at the Sybase, a 2nd place at Evian, 19th in the British Open, a win at the Wendy's, a tie for 2nd at the Jamie Farr, and a 3rd at the State Farm. It was this run of events that allowed Hee-Won to capture fourth place on the money list, by far her best finish on the season ending money list to date.


Best comeback to win
Grace Park, Michelob Light Open
Grace had never lost an event at any level of golf when she was leading going into the final round. That was the situation she found herself in at the Michelob Light Open; she had a one shot lead against almost all the greatest women golfers in the world. But right out of the gate she stumbled badly, and was 4 over par after just the first few holes. Proving what a gutsy player she is, she did not give up, and made three straight birdies after that to close the gap to two shots on Cristie Kerr. She would remain that many shots behind her for the next bunch of holes. But Kerr screwed up on the par 5 15th, and Grace made birdie to close the gap to one. Then Kerr messed up a simple approach shot on 16, made bogey, and Grace drilled a long birdie to take the lead at 9 under par! Grace capped her amazing comeback with one of the best putts of the year, a 20 foot par save on the 18th hole that gave her the one shot win.

Best final round
Gloria Park, CJ 9 Bridges Classic
With all due respect to Se Ri's final round 64s in the Chick-Fil-A and Ping and Grace's final round brilliance at the LPGA Championship, I'm going to give the award to Gloria Park, who shattered the course and tournament record at the CJ 9 Bridges Classic by shooting a 10 under par 62, her best ever round, to leap from the 20s on the leaderboard to a tie for 2nd. It was a perfect example of the explosiveness Gloria is capable of. If she ever gets more consistent, we could have another Korean superstar on our hands.

Saddest Moment of the year
Minny Yeo fails to make the cut at Q-School, after playing her best season to date on the tour. Best of luck to her in getting back to the tour in the future!

Minny Yeo
SeoulSisters.com Photo

Q-School graduate to watch:
Il Mi Chung
The 'Smile Queen' of the KLPGA tour is sort of the Korean equivalent of Lorie Kane. In her thirties, she had long said she had no intention of coming to play in America. But nonetheless, she went to Q-School this year, and lo and behold, she clinched her exempt card. I've read that she is already preparing to come to America in the next few weeks to start preparing for 2004. Being that she is a top player in Korea, it will be interesting to see if she can become another Korean star on the LPGA in 2004.


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