Park Min-ji, Lee Da-yeon, and Lee So-mi set to open US Women’s Open… expect a Cinderella story

Park Min-ji, Lee Da-yeon and Lee Somi, representing the Korean Ladies Professional Golf (KLPGA) Tour, are dreaming of a Cinderella story at the U.S. Women’s Open.

The 78th U.S. Women’s Open ($10 million purse), the pinnacle of women’s golf in the world, will be held at Pebble Beach Golf Links (Par 71-6546) in Pebble Beach, California, starting next month for four days. Local interest and excitement has been building early ahead of the top-tier major, which follows last week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship 안전놀이터.

A total of 156 players, including powerhouses from the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA), Korean, Japanese and European professional tours, as well as qualified professionals and amateurs from the U.S. and abroad, have entered the tournament, with 22 Koreans in the field. World No. 1 Ko Jin-young, LPGA players Ji-hee Ji, Yoo So-yeon, Jeon Ji-in, Lee Jeong-six, Kim A-rim, Kim Hyo-joo, Kim Se-young, Choi Hye-jin, Hae-ran Hae, Yang Hee-young, and Shin Ji-eun, as well as Japan’s Shin Ji-ae, and KLPGA standouts Park Min-ji, Lee Da-yeon, and Lee So-mi. Park was a late addition to the five alternates announced by organizer the United States Golf Association (USGA) on Monday.

While locals will be rooting for homegrown players such as Nelly Korda, Lilia Bu and Rose Chang, the main focus will be on South Korea’s 12th title. The U.S. Women’s Open is a major with a special place in Korean history, having been crowned 11 times since Park won her first title in a “barefoot battle” in 1998.

The expectation for Park, Lee, and Lee, who qualified as players ranked in the top 75 in the world, is to follow in the footsteps of Yoo So-yeon, Jeon In-ji, and Kim Ah-rim, who all rose to the top of the KLPGA and made it to the U.S. stage. Yoo won in 2011 in a playoff with KLPGA standout Seo Hee-kyung, while Jeon won in 2015 by one stroke over LPGA member Yang Hee-young. Kim won a surprise 2020 title in December amid the COVID-19 pandemic and, like her two predecessors, moved to the U.S. the following year.

Park Min-ji, the KLPGA’s 18-time career winner, is making her first appearance at the U.S. Women’s Open. After qualifying last year but not competing due to domestic commitments, Park is traveling to the United States this year with big dreams and a desire to participate in overseas tournaments. “I want to let the world know that there is a player like me, and I want to compete for a top five finish,” said Park, who will leave on the first day after recharging her batteries following her two wins last season 메이저도메인.

Lee will be looking to rebound from her first appearance last year (tied for 44th), while three-time domestic major winner Lee Da-yeon will be looking to capitalize on the bitter taste of missing out on her first appearance in 2021.

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