Updated: March, 2017

BO MEE LEE

The Facts

Birthday: August 21, 1988
Rookie Year on JLPGA: 2011
Birthplace: South Korea
Best LPGA Finish: 2nd (2012 Mizuno Classic)
Best LPGA Major Finish: T-10th (2016 ANA Inspiration)
Height: 5' 3"
2017 LPGA Status: On JLPGA Tour
Nicknames: Smile Candy AKA: Bo Mi Lee
Sponsors: Le Coq Sportif, Coca Cola, Honma
How's her English?: Unknown
Hobbies: Unknown
Road to the LPGA: Still on KLPGA/JLPGA tour

Capsule Bio

Bo Mi Lee joined the KLPGA in 2008, but 2009 was her breakthrough season. That season, she accumulated 8 top tens and her first career win. She would end up finishing fifth on the money list, and became enough of a star that she was even featured in a dance number at the season ending awards show.

Lee's best early season moment that year came at the biggest event on the schedule: the Korean Women's Open. She had a three shot cushion going into the final round, but stumbled there with a 74, allowing Hee Kyung Seo to charge past her and get the win. Lee would make up for that mistake later in the year, however. The Nefs Masterpiece was an event stocked with guest stars from the LPGA tour, but Lee played brilliantly, and at the end of regulation, she was tied with Major winner Inbee Park. Lee triumphed in the two hole playoff for her first career win.

2010 was a phenomenal year for Lee on the KLPGA tour. It was expected that Hee Kyung Seo or So Yeon Ryu would be the best player on tour, but in the end, the Player of the Year was Bo Mee Lee. She also had the low scoring average and led the money list with over 550 million won earned. She collected three wins, and had 15 top tens in 19 starts. Included in that total were a second, a third, three fourths and two fifths.

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Seoul Sisters Pix

Lee also won her first career Major when she captured the KB Star Tour Grand Finale, the final Major of the 2010 season.

Despite her success in Korea, she decided she wanted to play in Japan in 2011. She got through their Qualifying School fairly easily, and wanted to follow Sun Ju Ahn as the Rookie of the Year on that tour.

Things worked out somewhat differently than she had planned. Originally, she wanted to focus on the JLPGA, and had early success: at the year's first event, she finished tied for third. But the earthquake in March caused the cancellation of several events, including one in which she was tied for the lead when the disaster struck.

So she wound up playing a lot of tournaments on the KLPGA instead. She had a good year, although she was not able to win a tournament. She did wind up with the lowest scoring average of the season. She also managed five top tens, including a runner up and a third place finish, and finished 20th on the KLPGA money list. Meanwhile, she also finished 40th on the JLPGA money list, and stated she wanted to focus on that tour going forward, making 2012 her 'true rookie season' in Japan.

Lee did focus on the JLPGA in 2012, and her results were very impressive. She won her first Japanese tour event early in the year, beating none other than two-time Player of the Year Sun Ju Ahn in a playoff to do it. But she really kicked it into gear at the end of the year. She finished second at the LPGA's Japanese event, the Mizuno Classic, thanks to a second round 64. LPGA Player of the Year Stacy Lewis made up seven strokes on Lee in the final round to beat her, but Lee still finished second, her best finish in an LPGA event by far. Shortly after that, she won her second JLPGA event, then wrapped up the year by triumphing at the Ricoh Cup, the year's final Major. Bo Mee's three wins helped give her around 108 million yen in earnings. She finished second on the tour money list, behind only longtime Korean star Mi Jeong Jeon. It was her first truly great season on that tour.

Lee also managed an 8th place finish at the Hite Cup, the KLPGA's third Major, and a tie for 6th at the RACV Australian Ladies Master in early February. She played at the Korea-Japan Team Competition in December, teaming with Ha Neul Kim for a win in the team portion before losing in singles.

Bo Mee had another strong season in Japan in 2013. She finished 7th on the money list with two wins, including a Major victory at the JLPGA Championship Konica Minolta Cup in September. She also finished 7th at the Hite Cup when she returned to the KLPGA to play in that Major.

Bo Mee had an even better 2014 season, finishing third on the JLPGA money list with nearly 120 million yen earned. She had three wins during the year, 17 top tens and 24 top twenties. At one point she notched six straight top five finishes, including two wins in that stretch. Bo Mee also finished tied for 13th at the Mizuno Classic, her lone LPGA event of the year. Bo Mee was one of three Koreans to finish in the top four on the money list in 2014 (Sun Ju Ahn was #1, Jiyai Shin #4).

At the end of the year, Bo Mee played in the Korea-Japan Team Championship. Korea won easily, and Lee contributed two wins in the process (one single win, one win teamed with Sun Ju Ahn).

In 2015, Bo Mee Lee had not only the best season ever achieved by a non-Japanese player on the JLPGA tour, but possibly the best even including Japanese players. Simply put, it was a record smashing year from beginning to end.

Lee started the year with a tie for 5th, and soon went on a run of four straight runner-up finishes without a win. Finally she broke through with her first win of the year at the Hoken No Maduchi Ladies in mid-May. Then the floodgates opened. For much of the rest of the year, Lee found herself in contention almost every week. Lee got her second win a few weeks later, then grabbed back to back wins shortly after that. Her fifth win came at the Stanley Ladies in October. By that point, she was threatening the all time record for most money earned in a season.

She didn't let up: to cap off her year, she won two of the final three events for seven total victories in 2015. She also had seven runner-up finishes, three thirds, and a mind-blowing 23 total top tens. Not only did she become the first woman to ever break the 200 million yen mark, she shattered it, accumulating 230 million yen for the year. That not only was the most money a woman had ever made in a year in Japan, it also broke the all time record for the Japanese MEN'S tour as well!

Naturally, Bo Mee also won all the top prizes in Japan, including Player of the Year and Scoring Average. And she became a bit of a sensation in Japan, with hardly a week going by all year without Bo Mee on the cover of some Japanese golf magazine or other. She has become so popular over there that she regularly appears in non-sports shows such as game shows or travel shows. It helps that she speaks fluent Japanese.

The only knock on Bo Mee's season was that she did not win one of the four Japanese tour Majors. In Gee Chun won two of them as a guest, with Jiyai Shin and Theresa Lu winning the other two.

At the end of the year, Bo Mee was the captain for the KLPGA team at the Kowa Queens, a four tour team event. Her JLPGA friends got out to a huge lead, but Bo Mee helped stage an enormous comeback by the Koreans on Sunday. Alas, they came up just short; although they won all but one of the singles matches on the day, that still was not enough to beat the JLPGA.

2016 was another incredible year for Bo Mee Lee. Although she did not do quite as well as she had in 2015, she still dominated the JLPGA, winning all the major awards: Player of the Year, scoring average, and money list. She earned over 175 million yen, leading second place Jiyai Shin by over 25 million yen. Her scoring average of 70.09 was nearly .4 strokes better than Shin.

Lee won five times in 2016, and at one point had a stretch of eleven straight events with top five finishes. She notched five second place finishes, three thirds, 19 top fives (!) and 21 top tens.

She also played four LPGA events, her best finish a tie for 10th at the ANA Inspiration (this was also her best Major finish to date).

Bo Mee Lee enters the 2017 season as hands down the best and most popular player on the Japanese tour. What will she accomplish next?

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