Updated: Jan, 2017

EUN-HEE JI

 

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The Facts

Birthday: May 13, 1986
Rookie Year on LPGA: 2007
Birthplace: South Korea
LPGA Wins: 2
LPGA Majors:
1 (2009 US Women's Open)
Best Score: 63 (2009 State Farm Classic)
Best Scoring Average for a year: 71.35 (2016)
Best Season money total:
$937,284 (2009)
Best Season Money Position:
13th (2009)
Most Top Tens/Season:
8 (2008)

Rookie of the Year finish: 7th

Height: 5' 2"
2017 LPGA Status: Category 1
Nicknames: Mickey Mouse
Sponsors: Hanwha
How's her English?: Unknown
Hobbies: Listening to music
Road to the LPGA: Tied for 34th at 2006 LPGA Q-School to earn non-exempt status.

Capsule Bio

Eun-Hee Ji started playing golf at the age of 13. She was a member of the Korean national (amateur) team in 2003, and won the Korean Women's Amateur one year. She turned pro in late 2004. She played on the KLPGA in 2005 and 2006, and won several events on the Ladies Asian Tour as well.

In late 2006, she finished tied for 34th at LPGA Q-School to earn conditional status on tour for 2007. She started the year playing exclusively on the KLPGA, where she immediately became one of the top players on tour. She won her first event on tour at the fourth event she played in 2007, the Phoenix Park Classic, and immediately followed that up with a second win at the 2nd KB Star Tour event the following week. That win was a bit controversial: her playing partner, Hee Young Park, was in the lead when she noticed that Ji had forgotten one of her clubs on the ground. Park picked it up and stashed it in her bag, then forgot about it. Ji later noticed that she was missing a club, then saw that Park had it. By mentioning it, she forced a two stroke penalty on Park for carrying too many clubs. Ji went on to beat Park in a playoff.

The next week, Ji almost made it three in a row. She was leading through two rounds, but KLPGA star Sun Ju Ahn caught her and beat her in the final round. Although Ji would not win again on the KLPGA in 2007, she was often in the hunt, notching six additional second place finishes. The most heartbreaking of these was at the Hite Cup, where she led almost the entire week only to lose on the final hole thanks to a double bogey. Nonetheless, she would earn over 300 million won for the season and finished second on the money list behind Shin, a great year by any measure.

Ji didn't play many LPGA events in 2007, but she made the ones she did play count. In her first LPGA event, the Evian Masters, she shot a blistering 66 in the first round and went on to finish tied for 16th. She played the Women's British Open, her first Major, the following week, and did even better. In tough conditions she wound up tied with Se Ri Pak for fifth. After a disappointing turn at the Canadian Women's Open, she played the LPGA's Korean event in October, and once again was brilliant. In the second round, she shot the low score, a sizzling 68 in very hard conditions. That left her by herself in second place, one shot behind Suzann Pettersen. Alas, the third round was canceled due to wind, and Ji finished at that spot.

In just four events played, Ji earned enough money to secure an exempt card for the LPGA for 2008. She finished 52nd on the money list thanks to her three top twenties.

She took full advantage in 2008. She teamed with KLPGA superstar Ji Yai Shin at the Women's World Cup in January, and had it not been for an inspired Philippines team, they would have won that title. Ji had a top five early in the year at the Safeway International, but it was at the Wegman's in Rochester in May that she broke through with her first LPGA career win. Facing Suzann Pettersen coming down the stretch, Ji made one clutch putt after another to seize the win out of the Norwegian's hands.

Eun Hee was far from done. She contended again just a few weeks later in Arkansas and collected a top five finish at the British Women's Open. All in all, it was a fantastic second year for the young budding star: she earned nearly a million bucks and collected 8 top ten finishes in all.

Ji started 2009 very well, with top 20 finishes in her first five events. She also played well at the State Farm, finishing tied for 6th after a final round 63. But by far her top event in 2009, and indeed her entire pro career, was that year's US Women's Open. With 9 holes to go, she was right in the hunt, but a double bogey on the 10th hole seemed a deadly blow. After that, however, she rallied bigtime, making two birdies to climb into a share of the lead. It all came down to the final hole, and Ji delivered, nailing a 20 foot birdie putt to win the Major.

Interestingly, Ji did not have a top fifteen finish the rest of the year, although she did play well at the season ending Kyoraku Cup, where she beat Japan's top star, Ai Miyazato.

Ji's weird post-Major malaise continued in 2010. Although she had the occasional good round, she did not manage a single top ten all year, her best finish being a tie for 12th at the Safeway Classic. She finished only 57th on the money list, a far cry from her top 15 finish the previous year.

Ji continued to look for her first post-Open top ten in 2011, to no avail. She still finished 48th on the money list, but her best finish all year was only a 20th place.

In 2012, she achieved 2 top tens and earned over $380,000, ranking her 36th on the money list for the season. Her best finish came at the year's 2nd Major, the LPGA Championship. She was in contention there to the very end, but fell just short and finished tied for 2nd. Had she prevailed, the Koreans would have swept the 2012 Majors.

Ji had one top ten in 2013, a 4th at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship, but made 23 of 26 cuts and pocketed over $330,000 for the year, putting her at 44th on the money list. She had a better 2014, which included her best ever scoring average and 5 top tens. She finished 34th on the money list. Her best tournament result came at the British Women's Open, a tie for 5th.

Ji had a decent year in 2015. She made nearly half a million dollars and finished 36th on the money list. She had just two top tens, her best finish a tie for second at the Fubon tournament in Taiwan.

Ji's 2016 was much like her 2015. She finished 33rd on the money list with about $558,000 earned. She did manage to slightly improve her best scoring average for a season. Her most notable tournament came at the US Women's Open, where she was in contention all week and wound up tied for third, just out of a playoff for the title.

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