Soo-Yun Kang Wins 2013 Stanley Ladies Golf Tournament

Soo-Yun Kang, 2013 Stanley Ladies Golf Tournament Champion

Normally, a 2nd place finish by Sakura Yokomine in an LPGA of Japan event is not a cause for me to celebrate. After all, Sakura is my favorite JLPGA player. To have her come so close, yet be so far from victory can be vexing. However, on this day, with Yokomine coming up tied for 2nd at the 2013 Stanley Ladies Golf Tournemant, I am positively giddy. A former favorite of mine from the U.S. LPGA, Soo-Yun Kang, emerged from years of frustration to finally bask in the warm glow of victory once again. My women’s golf fandom is rooted in being a Seoul Sister fan; that is, being a fan of the Korean players on the LPGA Tour. One of my earliest favorites was Soo-Yun, whom we affectionately referred to as Kangsy in the Seoul Sister Forum. After great success on the LPGA of Korea (KLPGA), Soo-Yun came to America in 2001. From 2001 through 2004, Kangsy showed flashes of brilliance, but not consistency. She finally put things together in August of 2005, winning her first (and to date, only) LPGA event, the 2005 Safeway Classic in Portland, Oregon. She finished that year strongly, culminating with being named Captain of the 2005 Pinx Cup, an end of year competition between women golfers from South Korea and Japan, now called the Kyoraku Cup.

Soo-Yun Kang winning 2005 Safeway Classic

Then, when things were looking sweet for Kangsy’s LPGA career, it began to sour. Injuries and inconsistency conspired to make the following years far less than what her talent had promised. With a remarkably sub-par 2010 LPGA season unfolding, Soo-Yun went to JLPGA Q-school. She earned status for 2011, and has largely forsaken the LPGA ever since, save for co-sponsored events. I can speak to the disappointment of her American fans, like myself, who would miss her presence on the LPGA. At the same time, we were happy she was still playing competitive golf on a major tour, even if it was on the other side of the world. We also recognized that Kangsy was entering her mid 30s. Perhaps she wouldn’t have that many years of top level golf in her. Maybe it would be a positive that she was closer to her home in South Korea playing in Japan. She played reasonably well in 2011 and 2012 on the JLPGA, yet victory still eluded her. Until now.

Victory for Kangsy!

Tied for third at 6-under after the 2nd round, Soo-Yun entered the final round chasing overnight leader Mayu Hattori by 2 shots and 2nd place Sakura Yokomine by 1 shot. Hattori struggled with 3 bogeys canceling her 3 birdies, with an even par final round sending her in reverse, falling from 1st to tied for 4th. Sakura played well with a 2-under par 3rd round, leaving her at 9-under overall. That would only be good enough for a 2nd place tie with Harukyo Nomura. That’s because Soo-Yun put in a sensational 6-under par 66 to leap-frog to victory. She had matching 4 birdie, 1 bogey performances on both the front 9 and back 9, starting and ending her round with birdies. At 37 years old (or young, depending on your perspective), I wasn’t sure if Kangsy would again visit the winner’s circle on a major golf tour. Maybe she would play out the rest of her career as a journeywoman. I am so glad to be wrong. Congratulations to Kangsy on her perseverance and on what I hope is the first of multiple JLPGA victories.

SOO-YUN KANG

TERESA LU

YUMI MATSUBARA

YUMIKO YOSHIDA

AH-REUM HWANG

HARUKYO NOMURA

KAORI OHE

KEIKO SASAKI

MAYU HATTORI

MISUZU NARITA

NA-RI LEE

RIE TSUJI

RIKAKO MORITA

RITSUKO RYU

SAKI OKAMURA

SAKURA YOKOMINE

Position Player ToPar Thru Today 1R 2R 3R
1 Soo-Yun Kang -12 F -6 68 70 66
2T Harukyo Nomura -9 F -3 71 67 69
Sakura Yokomine -9 F -2 69 68 70
4T Ah-Reum Hwang -8 F -5 72 69 67
Rikako Morita -8 F -3 69 70 69
Mayu Hattori -8 F E 65 71 72
7T Rie Tsuji -7 F -4 70 71 68
Kaori Ohe -7 F -4 71 70 68
Na-Ri Lee -7 F -3 68 72 69
Saki Okamura -7 F -2 68 71 70
Keiko Sasaki -7 F -2 69 70 70
Teresa Lu -7 F -1 69 69 71
13T Ji-Hee Lee -6 *F -6 72 72 66
Akane Iijima -6 F -3 70 71 69
Satsuki Oshiro -6 F E 66 72 72
16T Li-Ying Ye -5 F -3 69 73 69
Esther Lee -5 F -3 73 69 69
Saiki Fujita -5 F -2 71 70 70
Yumiko Yoshida -5 F +1 68 70 73
20T Lala Anai -4 *F -4 73 71 68
Yumi Matsubara -4 F -3 72 71 69
Ritsuko Ryu -4 F E 71 69 72
23T Yukari Baba -3 F -3 73 71 69
Kaori Yamamoto -3 *F -3 73 71 69
Rui Kitada -3 F -2 68 75 70
Miki Saiki -3 F -2 72 71 70
Eun-Bi Jang -3 F -1 72 70 71
Yuki Sakurai -3 F +2 72 67 74
29T Da-Ye Na -2 F -1 73 70 71
Asako Fujimoto -2 F E 68 74 72
Airi Sugimoto -2 F +1 68 73 73
Ikue Asama -2 *F -3 75 70 69
Haruka Morita -2 *F -3 70 75 69
34 Mihoko Iseri -1 *F -1 74 70 71
35T O.Sattaya E F E 73 71 72
Ji-Woo Lee E F E 73 71 72
Natsu Nagai E F +1 71 72 73
Bo-Bae Song E F +1 74 69 73
Ayako Uehara E *F E 74 70 72
Yui Mukaiyama E *F -1 72 73 71
Kotone Hori E *F -1 75 70 71
42T Yayoi Arasaki +1 *F +1 74 70 73
Erina Hara +1 F +2 75 68 74
Sae Yamamura +1 *F +1 73 71 73
Momoko Ueda +1 *F +1 70 74 73
Asuka Kashiwabara +1 F +3 70 72 75
Ji-Min Lee +1 *F E 72 73 72
Tomoko Kusakabe +1 *F E 71 74 72
49T Risa Ogusu +2 *F +2 72 72 74
Misuzu Narita +2 F +5 73 68 77
51 Yun-Jye Wei +3 F +4 69 74 76
52 Yuko Fukuda +4 *F +3 73 72 75
53T Shiho Oyama +5 *F +4 73 72 76
Chiharu Tsunekawa +5 *F +4 74 71 76
Kaori Aoyama +5 *F +4 74 71 76

2013 JLPGA WINNERS (numbers in parentheses are career JLPGA victory totals)

Dates Tournament Location Prize fund (¥) Winner
Mar 8–10 Daikin Orchid Ladies Golf Tournament Japan Okinawa 80,000,000 Japan Rikako Morita (3)
Mar 15–17 Yokohama Tire Golf Tournament PRGR Ladies Cup Japan Kochi 80,000,000 South Korea Jeon Mi-jeong (22)
Mar 22–24 T-Point Ladies Golf Tournament Japan Kagoshima 70,000,000 Japan Yuki Ichinose (1)
Mar 29–31 AXA Ladies Golf Tournament in Miyazaki Japan Miyazaki 80,000,000 Japan Natsuka Hori (1)
Apr 4–7 Yamaha Ladies Open Katsuragi Japan Shizuoka 100,000,000 Japan Mamiko Higa (1)
Apr 12–14 Studio Alice Women’s Open Japan Hyogo 60,000,000 South Korea Kim Na-ri (2)
Apr 19–21 KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open Japan Kumamoto 70,000,000 Japan Miki Saiki (6)
Apr 26–28 Fuji Sankei Ladies Classic Japan Shizuoka 80,000,000 Japan Miki Saiki (7)
May 3–5 CyberAgent Ladies Golf Tournament Japan Chiba 70,000,000 Japan Sakura Yokomine (19)
May 9–12 World Ladies Championship Salonpas Cup Japan Ibaraki 120,000,000 Japan Hiromi Mogi (6)
May 17–19 Hokken No Madoguchi Ladies Japan Fukuoka 120,000,000 Thailand Onnarin Sattayabanphot (1)
May 24–26 Chukyo TV Bridgestone Ladies Open Japan Aichi 70,000,000 Japan Rikako Morita (4)
May 31 – Jun 2 Resort Trust Ladies Japan Hyogo 70,000,000 Japan Mamiko Higa (2)
Jun 7–9 Yonex Ladies Golf Tournament Japan Niigata 60,000,000 Japan Junko Omote (3)
Jun 13–16 Suntory Ladies Open Japan Hyogo 100,000,000 Japan Rikako Morita (5)
Jun 21–23 Nichirei Ladies Japan Chiba 80,000,000 Japan Yumiko Yoshida (2)
Jun 27–30 Earth Mondahmin Cup Japan Chiba 140,000,000 Japan Natsuka Hori (2)
Jul 5-7 Nichi-Iko Women’s Open Golf Tournament Japan Toyama 60,000,000 South Korea Kim Young (1)
Jul 19–21 Samantha Thavasa Girls Collection Ladies Tournament Japan Ibaraki 60,000,000 Japan Yumiko Yoshida (3)
Aug 9–11 Meiji Cup Japan Hokkaido 90,000,000 South Korea Na Da-ye (1)
Aug 16–18 NEC Karuizawa 72 Golf Tournament Japan Nagano 70,000,000 Japan Misuzu Narita (2)
Aug 23–25 CAT Ladies Japan Kanagawa 60,000,000 South Korea Ahn Sun-ju (12)
Aug 30 – Sep 1 Nitori Ladies Golf Tournament Japan Hokkaido 100,000,000 South Korea Ahn Sun-ju (13)
Sep 6–8 Golf 5 Ladies Professional Golf Tournament Japan Hokkaido 60,000,000 Japan Yumiko Yoshida (4)
Sep 12–15 Japan LPGA Championship Konica Minolta Cup Japan Hokkaido 140,000,000 South Korea Lee Bo-mee (4)
Sep 20–22 Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic Japan Aichi 80,000,000 Japan Sakura Yokomine (20)
Sep 27–29 Miyagi TV Cup Dunlop Women’s Open Golf Tournament Japan Miyagi 70,000,000 South Korea Lee Na-ri (1)
Oct 3–6 Japan Women’s Open Golf Championship Japan Kanagawa 140,000,000 Japan Mika Miyazato (2)
Oct 11–13 Stanley Ladies Golf Tournament Japan Shizuoka 90,000,000 South Korea Kang Soo-yun (1)

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