‘Second-year’ Choi leads Lotte Open first round as he seeks first win of his career

Second-year KLPGA Tour player Choi Ye-bon took a surprise lead on the first day of the Lotte Open and has a chance to win her first title.

Choi Ye-bon carded an eagle and four birdies for a 6-under 66 in the first round of the KLPGA Tour’s Lotte Open at BearsBest Cheongna Golf Club (Par 72) in Incheon on Monday. With a one-stroke lead over the second-place group after the first day of play, Choi boosted her chances of winning her first career title.

After the tournament, Choi said, “I played without making any major mistakes. I think I was able to reduce my score easily by playing steady,” said Choi, who was pleased with her performance on day one. “I always try to be conservative with my irons and it worked well today. I think I was able to finish well whenever I got the chance.”

Choi is a little-known player. She started playing golf in middle school and didn’t have much success as an amateur. She became a member of the KLPGA in 2021 and made her debut on the KLPGA Tour last year. She was ranked 83rd on the money list last year and had to go through a hellish seeding process. Luckily, she finished 10th in the seeding and was able to play on the KLPGA Tour again this year.

In her second year on the tour, she is a completely different player than last year. Choi spent seven weeks in Vietnam with coach Choi Hyung-kyu to refine her swing, and the 5-foot-7-inch golfer’s long game has come alive. Last year, Choi ranked 43rd in driving average (239.89 yards).

This season, however, she has moved up to fifth in that category with an average drive distance of 251.18 yards in her first eight tournaments. Choi said, “I’ve been a long hitter since I was a student, but last year it didn’t go well because I didn’t feel the shot as much. I’m looking at a carry distance of about 220 meters.”

As her tee shot improved, so did her game. She has only missed one cut this season. She was tied for the lead in the first round of the NH Investment Securities Ladies Championship last month. Last week, she tied for 11th at the E1 Charity Open, her best finish on the KLPGA Tour.

After a successful first day, Choi revealed her strategy for the remainder of the round, saying, “The greens are very forgiving and not very fast, so I’m going to try to keep the fairways in play. 스포츠토토

“My first goal this season is to maintain my seeding,” Choi said, “and for that, I always prioritize making the cut.”

Six players, including Lee Se-hee, Lee So-young and Jeon Woori, are tied for second place by one stroke, setting up a fierce battle for the lead in the second round. Lotte’s Choi Hye-jin and Kim Hyo-joo are tied for 13th at 3-under 69.

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