Koreans Lead Final Round of LPGA Jamie Farr Toledo Classic

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Spectators enter the gates at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic

Hee Kyung Seo had mentioned earlier in the week that the Highland Meadows Country Club reminded her of some of the courses she played in Korea. That similarity to Korean courses may pay dividends today as four Koreans are tied for first at the LPGA’s Jamie Farr Toledo Classic: I.K. Kim, Jiyai Shin, Seo Yeon Ruy and Hee Kyung Seo. First place is at eleven under. Two more are T5, Inbeen Park and Chella Choi, along with Japan’s Mika Miyazato at ten under.

In T8 heading into the final round, and eight under, are Jacqui Concolini (US), Hee-Won Han (Korea), Angela Stanford (US) and Pernilla Lindberg (Sweden). I mention the players’ origins because it really underscores the international nature of the LPGA. It also speaks to the dominance of the Asian women.

I find it interesting that Asian men have not made bigger headway into the PGA Tour. KJ Choi was the pioneer and YE Yang took down Tiger at the 2009 PGA Championship (from which Tiger has never recovered). Others include Sang Moon Bae, Seung-yul Noh and Sunghoon Kang.

Some potential Korean stars families have managed to avoid this by leaving Korea. This group apparently includes Danny Lee and Kevin Na.

Still, this is leavened by the Korean Golf Association. Like national sports development programs in other countries, this Association identifies children at a young age with golf potential and works with them from ages 8 – 20 to develop a national team. These sixty players have all golf expenses paid, take part in training camps and compete in national and international competitions.

Given the intensity of the program, I think it will not be long before the PGA Tour has a strong Korean presence.

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