The best performing men and women in Korean golf this year are surprisingly all in their early 20s. Go Gun-taek (24, Daebo Construction) has been a standout in men’s golf and Lee Ye-won (20, KB Financial Group) has been a standout in women’s golf.
Ko has three wins on the season in 15 tournaments this year. He won his third title at the 39th Shinhan Donghae Open on Oct. 10, earning KRW 252 million in prize money. Ko defeated fellow Thai player Pachara Kongwatmai, 24, in a tiebreaker.
Ko has shown a competitive spirit this season, with two of his three wins coming in overtime. At the last Honors K-Solago CC Hanjangsang Invitational, Ko won a second overtime match against Lim Ye-taek (25).
Ko became the first player in five years to reach three wins in a season after Park Sang-hyun (40, Dong-A Pharmaceuticals). Until last year, the most victories in Korean men’s professional golf had come from players with two wins each year after Park posted three in 2018.
Ko also became the first player in his 20s to win three titles in a season in 16 years. In 2007, Kim Kyung-tae (37, Shinhan Financial Group) and Kang Kyung-nam (40, Daesoon Joojo), both in their 20s at the time, won three titles side by side.
Now, Ko will try to match Choi Sang-ho’s (68) single-season record of four wins. Choi reached four wins in a season in 1985, 1986, 1991 and 1992.
One factor that could affect Ko’s winning streak is not her rivals, but her military service. Ko plans to enlist in the military next year. However, he may postpone his enlistment if he adds more wins.
In his victory interview at the Shinhan Donghae Open, Go Gun-taek said, “I actually submitted my enlistment application to the military last week. “I was planning to join the military after this season,” he said, “but because I won this tournament, I got a five-year domestic seed and I’m eligible to play on the Japan Tour and Asian Tour. I don’t know what to do now. I’ll have to think about it.”
In women’s golf, Lee Ye-won is making waves. Lee won the Lotte Rent-a-Car Women’s Open and the Doosan E&C We’ve Championship in Jeju Island this year, joining Park Min-ji, Park Ji-young, and Lim Jin-hee as the fourth multiple winners of the season.
After winning the Rookie of the Year title last year without a win, Lee has exploded with two victories this year. She currently leads the money list and the points list.
Lee’s biggest strength is his consistency. Out of the 20 tournaments he has played this year, he has nine top-10 finishes. He has made the cut in every tournament this year and has never withdrawn. When he has played in a tournament, he has finished in the top 10. With three runner-up finishes and one third-place finish, Lee has consistently been at the top of the leaderboard.
What’s more, Lee is a big game player. She finished tied for sixth at the Christie’s F&C 45th KLPGA Championship and tied for sixth at the DB Group 37th Korea Women’s Open, and recently finished runner-up in back-to-back events at the Hanwha Classic 2023 and the KB Financial Star Championship.안전놀이터
Lee credits her role model, Inbee Park, for her consistent performance. Lee has said that she wants to emulate Inbee Park, who maintains a steady performance with no ups and downs. It will be interesting to see if Lee, who has become a top-ranked golfer in Korea, can keep her composure until she reaches the U.S. stage.