Updated: Jan, 2017
The Facts
Name: Seon Hwa Lee
It's pronounced: Sun Huh-Wah Lee
Birthday:
February 10, 1986
Home City: Chonan, South Korea
Rookie Year on LPGA: 2006
LPGA Wins: 4
LPGA Majors: 0
(Best Finish: 5th, 2008 Kraft Nabisco Championship)
Rookie of the year finish: Won it!
Height: 5' 5"
Family: Unknown
Best score:
63 (2006 ShopRite, 2009 Jamie Farr)
Best Scoring Average for a year:
71.30 (2006)
Best Season Money total:
$1,187,310 (2008)
Best Season Money Position:
5th (2007)
Most Top Tens/Season:
8 (2007)
2017 LPGA Status: Category 18
Strong Statistic: Fantastic swing
Nicknames:
Stone Buddha
Other Sports: None known
Hobbies:
Music, Movies, Shopping
Sponsors: Hanwha
How's her English?: Very good for a beginner; she practices often
Road to the LPGA: Qualified for 2006 LPGA tour by finishing first on 2005 Futures Tour money list
Exclusive Interview!
Click HERE to read an exclusive interview with Seon Hwa Lee conducted at the 2006 Safeway Classic in Portland, Oregon!
Bio

Seon-Hwa Lee is a young phenomenon that had a lot of success on the KLPGA tour, and thus came over in 2004 to try the American circuit. Lee created something of a sensation in Korea when she turned pro at the tender age of 14 years and 2 months. She showed it was a good decision when she won her first pro event shortly after her 15th birthday, the 2001 McSquare Championship, thus becoming the youngest player ever to win on the KLPGA tour. She also won the 2003 HiMart Championship in Korea, and made 7 tops tens in total that year. That was good enough to allow her to finish third on the KLPGA money list, ahead of players like Mi Na Lee, Il Mi Chung and Shi Hyun Ahn.

This qualified her to be on the 2003 Pinx Cup team, the annual Korea vs. Japan team competition. And she did not disappoint. On a team that featured such superstars as Se Ri Pak, Grace Park, Mi Hyun Kim and Hee-Won Han, Lee was one of the few players who won both her matches, even more surprising when you consider she was the youngest player on the team. She was very likely the MVP, although veteran Woo-Soon Ko beat her out for the official honor.

Having just turned 18, Lee came over to play on the Futures Tour, and has immediately had success. In her first three starts, she managed two seconds and a 7th, and quickly rose to second on the money list (and was first for a time). She looked good to win her exempt card for the LPGA tour in 2005, but faded towards the end of the season. She then failed to get status at 2004 Q-School.

This proved but a minor setback for Lee. In 2005, she played brilliantly on the Futures Tour, making all 18 cuts, grabbing 13 top tens, 7 top threes, and her first win at the Albany FUTURES Pro Golf Classic in Albany, N.Y. She ended up finishing atop the Futures Tour money list, earning an exempt LPGA tour card for 2006.

After that, she played a few events on the KLPGA tour. Despite only competing in 5 of 11 events, she finished third on the KLPGA money list for the year.

In 2006, Seon Hwa Lee shocked everyone with the brilliance of her rookie season on the LPGA. She almost made a top ten in her first event; in her second, she nearly won, losing in a playoff to Meena Lee. The next event, she again finished second, this time to Annika Sorenstam. She notched a third second at the Takefuji Classic a few months later. By this time, she was blowing away the other more highly touted rookies in her class for the Rookie of the Year title. And when she wasn't contending, she was still collecting top twenties.

At the ShopRite Classic in June, she again found herself facing Annika for the victory. This time it was Lee who came out on top, playing a virtually flawless final round (a 63) to leave the field in the dust. It was just her 12th LPGA tournament.

Seon Hwa went on to easily win the LPGA's Rookie of the Year award, becoming the fifth Korean in the past nine years to do so. She also went the entire season without missing a cut.

She distinguished herself yet again at the Lexus Cup at the end of the year. She won all three matches she played, including the one that gave the victory to Asia in the event. She played decently to start the 2007 season, but was not really able to get in contention early in the year. But just like at the Lexus Cup, match play golf again proved her strong point later in the year when she won the HSBC Women's World Match Play, one of the most difficult titles to win on tour. The victory vaulted her into the top ten on the money list and once again made her one of the elite on the LPGA tour.

Lee ended up breaking a million dollars in a year for the first time in her career, and finished 5th on the money list, her best to date. She played at both the Kyoraku and Lexus Cups, and was undefeated in both, bringing her match play record for 2007 to 9-0.

After Seon Hwa won the Match Play in July, the Koreans on the LPGA went into a prolonged winning drought. Week after week, they would come close to getting a title, only to come up short in the end. That drought finally ended in June of 2008, and the player who ended it was none other than Seon Hwa. She entered the final round of the Ginn Tribute 9 shots behind Sophie Gustafson. But in one of the greatest comebacks in LPGA history, she roared by the struggling Swede, finishing her day with a spectacular forty foot birdie on the last hole. Eventually, Karrie Webb made her own long birdie to tie Lee and force a playoff. But Seon Hwa, so strong in match play golf, also proved too tough for the Australian here, winning her third LPGA event in grand style.

Just a month later, at the P&G NW Arkansas Championship, the leaderboard was littered with Korean golfers. Seon Hwa emerged from the pack and, with a birdie on the final hole, took the clubhouse lead. Eventually, the only player who had a chance to tie her was Meena Lee, who had beaten Seon Hwa in a playoff in 2006, in just Seon Hwa's second ever LPGA event. This time, however, Meena could not make the putt, and Seon Hwa claimed her second win of 2008 and fourth in her career.

Seon Hwa also had a great record at the Majors in '08. She claimed her first ever top five in a Major at the Nabisco, had a 10th at the LPGA Championship and a 14th at the British. Although she became more erratic in the late summer and fall, she still had put together an impressive run in her third season on tour.

After her best season in 2008, 2009 was a bit of a letdown. She finished outside the top 20 on the money list for the first time, making less than half what she had made in 2008. She had no great Major results, and failed to win during the entire season, her first winless year on the LPGA tour. Her scoring average was still decent, however, and she did have five top tens, including a near win at the Jamie Farr in July and a tie for 10th in her defense of her P & G title. She wound up 28th on the money list for the year.

At the end of the year, Seon Hwa entered Japanese LPGA Qualifying School. She succeeded in earning a card on the JLPGA for 2010.

In 2010, Lee split her time between the LPGA and JLPGA tours. By and large her JLPGA results were not that impressive. Meanwhile, on the LPGA, she only earned one top ten all year, at the P & G NW Arkansas Championship, an event she has won in the past. Lee finished 42nd on the LPGA money list, even lower than her 2009 campaign.

The 2011 season saw Lee continue her downward trajectory. She managed only a single top ten all year, and that was a ninth place finish. She made less than $100,000 in a season for the first time in her LPGA career. Fortunately, she finished 71st on the money list and thus maintained full status on tour for 2012.

The next year, Lee had another weak season. She managed only one top 30 finish before missing the cut at the US Women's Open. This was her last event of the year; she was forced to bow out due to lower back/hip problems. She received a medical exemption from the tour and will retain full membership for the 2013 season.

Seon Hwa struggled mightily in 2013. She only made three cuts and did not play at all past August. She even contemplated returning to the KLPGA for 2014. But she did great at Q-School, finishing tied for 6th to earn full status for 2014. However, in 2014 she once again had a weak year. She did not play at all past June, and made only $20K. It seems like medical problems still dog her, although this is not confirmed.

2015 was more of the same. She played no events past March, and her only made cut was a tie for 45th. Lee has now sunk to category 18 status for 2016.

Lee did not play at all on the LPGA in 2016. She played a lot on the KLPGA, but her best finishes were a pair of 22nd places. She wound up 81st on the money list with just 59,163,500 won earned.