It couldn’t have been more dramatic. Yoo Hyo-joo’s (26) first win on the Korean Women’s Professional Golf (KLPGA) tour was like a ‘lottery’. If she failed to win the remaining two tournaments, she had to sit out before the seed dubbed ‘Gate of Hell’. At least one tournament was not even qualified to participate, but suddenly the tournament was canceled and a new tournament was held, giving an opportunity to participate. In a situation where three players competed for the lead until the 17th hole, he caught a birdie alone with a ‘life shot’ on the 18th hole. So her first win came after her 104th tournament.
Hyo-joo was a ‘regular customer’ who played seed matches almost every year. The seed match is a thrilling survival competition in which players who have been pushed out of the top 60 in the prize money rankings to secure a tour card for the next season. He used to be pushed back to seed every year except for 2017, his rookie year. After playing on the regular tour in 2017 and 2018, he had to go down to the second part tour for two years from 2019 and was able to return only in 2021. Last year, as well, it was on the edge of a cliff with 87th place in the prize money ranking right before the Wemix Championship held in the third week of October.
At the Wemix Championship, which was so desperate, Hyo-joo dramatically took advantage of the opportunity. I went into the final round with a tie for third place, two strokes behind the lead, and tied for the lead with a birdie on the 16th hole, followed by a light birdie with the third shot on the last hole 18 (par 5) 1m inside the hole. It was the best shot of his life that he hit in the rain and the temperature dropped. With the addition of a prize money of 180 million won, the prize money ranking jumped to 30th place (260.44 million won) and secured a tour card until 2024.
Prior to this tournament, Yoo Hyo-ju emptied his mind and prepared for the seed match. He said, “I even made a reservation at Muan CC in Jeonnam to do a practice round in preparation for the seed match,” he said.
Maybe that’s why, Hyu-Yu Hyo-Joo was listed in the top 10 on the first day. Hyo-joo said, “After the first round, my desire to win grew so much. In the second round, I played with swollen eyes,” he recalled.
Looking at his record last year, I can understand why he was so stressed out. Yoo Hyo-joo has never been in the top 10, let alone competed for the championship. He failed to pass the cut in 12 of the 25 tournaments he participated in until the Wemix Championship.
It was a very unexpected win. He said, “I still don’t feel it. I thought he would cry a lot, but he couldn’t even cry. Everyone asked me why I didn’t cry, but I couldn’t believe it, so I didn’t even cry.”
Hyo-joo first started playing golf when he was in the first year of middle school. It was in the first year of high school that he entered the path of a full-scale golf player much later than others. Yoo-joo Yoo, who has been exposed to various sports since childhood while following her sports-loving father, said, “I learned figure skating, tennis, and basketball, but golf was the sport I liked the most.” It seems that he is doing something related to other sports or sports.” 메이저놀이터
However, his golf life, which has been 6 years since his KLPGA debut, was not smooth. Last year, my body didn’t even listen to me. When his shoulder injury did not produce the swing he wanted, he pondered countless times whether to stop playing golf. Hyo-joo Yoo said, “I thought, ‘What should I do now if I quit golf?'” and he felt a surge of sadness.
He is a well-known ‘professional baseball fanatic’ among golf players. Hyo-joo, who has been a fan since the days of SK Wyverns, the predecessor of SSG Landers, said, “My only hobby is baseball. I watch almost every game. During the season, after the game, I always watch baseball broadcasts at the dorm.” As it became known that he was a big fan of SSG, he pitched the first pitch at SSG home game in July of last year.
Yoo Hyo-joo is poised to take another strong step towards his second championship ahead of the new season. After concentrating on physical training until February, he plans to prepare for the new season with a program that enhances the sense of actual combat in March. He explained, “I want to increase my stamina and refine my iron shot, which is my strong point.”
Of course, Hyo-joo’s goal for this season is ‘one more win’, but the bigger goal is ‘happy golf’. He smiled brightly, saying, “My biggest goal in golf is to always play the tour happily and happily.”