K-Golf craze sweeps Malaysia, Hae-ran Hae solidifies rookie title, Go Jin-young tries to reclaim world No. 1 ranking

Lee Jung-six (27, Daebang Construction) is the last Korean to win Rookie of the Year on the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour. It’s been three years since she was named Rookie of the Year in 2019.

This year, she is on the verge of becoming the first Korean Rookie of the Year in four years. The gap to second place is large enough to give her some breathing room, but she can take the rest of the tournament with a lighter heart if she is crowned Rookie of the Year before the end of the Asian Swing.

The Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour’s ‘Super Rookie’ and rookie king will challenge for the LPGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year. Hae-ran Lee (22-DAOL Financial Group) is looking for her second win of the season.

Haziran will compete in the LPGA Tour’s Maybank Championship ($3 million purse), which begins Sept. 26 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (par 71, 6246 yards) in Malaysia. It will be the first time the LPGA Tour has played in Malaysia in six years since 2017.

While Thailand and Singapore have hosted LPGA Tour events in the early part of the season, Malaysia has been off the table. However, Maybank’s active interest impressed the LPGA, and the event has been confirmed as an invitational during the Asian Swing. It will be the third stop on the Asian Swing after China (Shanghai) and South Korea (Paju).

The LPGA Tour will play its final two events before the Toto Japan Classic in Japan next week. Hae-ran will be crowned Rookie of the Year if she closes the gap to the second-place group by 300 points or more before the end of the Asian swing.

With 842 points before this tournament, Hae-ran Hae is in the driver’s seat for the Rookie of the Year title. The LPGA Tour awards 150 rookie points to the winner. Second-ranked Grace Kim (AUS) has 576 points, but she can open up a gap of more than 300 points. She’s gone from a favorite to a lock.

Kim has six top-10 finishes in 22 events this season and earned her first career victory at the Walmart Arkansas Championship last month. She tied for 21st (8-under 280) at the Buick LPGA Shanghai, the first event of the Asian swing, and followed that up with a tie for 16th (9-under 279) at the BMW Ladies Championship, which concluded on April 22.

As she remains steady after her much-anticipated first LPGA Tour victory, it will be interesting to see if she can become the first rookie to win multiple times. Hae-ran will be paired with Ariya Jutanukarn (Thailand) and Gina Kim (USA).

The battle for world number one is also interesting. World No. 1 Lilia Vu will not be competing at the Maybank Championships. Lee Min-ji (AUS), who moved up to fourth in the world rankings after winning the BMW Ladies Championship, is also out of the field.

Second-ranked Yin Luning and third-ranked Ko Jin-young will compete, and if one of them wins, the world number one spot will change hands. After finishing tied for 48th at the BMW Women’s Championship, it will be interesting to see if Ko can redeem herself.

Ko will play in the final group on the first hole with Yin Luning and Nelly Koda to try and regain the world number one ranking. 굿모닝토토 도메인