Bienvenue! My name is Jamie and I like golf. I grew up playing tennis in eastern Massachusetts, but fell in love with the game after watching Se Ri Pak defeat Jenny Chausiriporn at the 1998 U.S. Womens Open. I studied Hospitality & Tourism Management (with a focus on Event, Tourism, and Convention Management) at the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tennis is my first love, but golf is a very close second. I believe style should equal substance, and the latter is nothing without the former.
Gloria Park, who has been out all season on maternity leave, seems to have a lot of similarities to fellow two time LPGA winner Ji Young Oh. I compare their first three years on tour here:
2000: Gloria Park , after gaining exempt status at Q-School, Gloria struggled throughout her entire rookie campaign. In a rookie class that featured future major champions, and countrywoman Grace Park & Jeong Jang, and a year that Mi Hyun Kim leapfrogged over Se Ri Pak to become the top ranked Korean on tour, it certainly wasn’t easy even in 2000 to stand out as a top South Korean on tour. She only made 10 of 25 cuts, had no top 10s (best finish T12), and finished 134th on the money list.
2007: Ji Young Oh , As an amateur Oh also garnered exempt status at Q-School, and competed in 22 events, also struggling through her freshman season. At Q-School In-Kyung Kim was the low amateur, tying medalist honors with H.J. Choi. Also earning exempt status with Ji Young were 2007 Rookie of the Year Angela Park, and Katherine Hull. No one would’ve expected Oh to be the first of these players to reach the winner’s circle. Although that maiden victory would not happen in her rookie year, as she like Gloria, only made 10 cuts, and had only one top-10. She still managed to secure an exempt card for 2008 by finishing 72nd on the money list.
2001: Gloria Park , Gloria Park became one of the biggest surprise winners of 2001 (probably only upended by Tina Fischer & Kate Golden for this honor) when she won the Williams Championship. This was only 3 weeks after her first ever top 10 on the LPGA in Canada, and was her only other top 10 of the season. The win helped her finish 35th on the money list, but there was no evidence she’d be able to pull off such a feat again.
2008: Ji Young Oh , Coming into the LPGA State Farm Classic Ji Young had added to her top-10 tally by 2, and was looking to have a successful, but unremarkable season. Back-to-back 66s to start the State Farm Classic proved too much for the field, as Oh also captured her first victory of her career. She’d snag another top 10 by the time the year was done, and became one of the most surprising players to finish in the top 30 of the money list at 26. Yet, 5 top 10s in two years may not have been the most promising sign that more wins were to come.
2002: Gloria Park , Shining through as the only first time winner of 2001 to win again, Park continued an upward trend with her third year on tour. She captured her second victory at the Sybase beating compatriot Hee-Won Han in a playoff. Notching 5 top 10s on the year Park finished just outside the top 20 on the money list at 21st when the season was through.
2009: Ji Young Oh , Notching her second top 10 in Mexico was Oh’s only triumph through the beginning of the 2009 season. Where she missed one cut and was unable to finish in the top 35 in her other 6 events. Coincidentally at the Sybase, Ji Young again opened with a 66, and parlayed that for her second LPGA victory. Sitting in the top 30 of the money list currently, these have been Ji Young’s only top 10s of the 2009 season thus far.
Pretty similar career paths so far right? Gloria has not found the winner circle sicne 2002, but did finish a career high 9th on the money list in 2005 when she finished in the top 10, 10 times. We’ll have to wait and see if Ji Young can continue her trend of surprising wins, or if she will topple out the same way Gloria has.