Fly 250 yards… ‘Gaya Daejeon’ of long hit queens

‘Let’s cover the best long hitter in the Korean Women’s Professional Golf (KLPGA).’

The Sineo and Nakdong courses (par 72, 6818 yards) at Gimhae Gaya Country Club in Gyeongnam, where the Nexen Saint Nine Masters 안전놀이터(total prize money of 800 million won) will be held on the 21st, boast wide fairways and the longest battlefield among KLPGA tour events. It is an absolutely advantageous course for long hitters, so most of the nine former champions are famous for their long hits.

Lee So-young and Kim Si-won, the leading candidates for the championship in this tournament, are also aiming for the ‘Queen of Gaya’ with long hits. Siwon Kim, who won 5 wins in the KLPGA, took over Gaya in a cascading fashion. He finished third in 2014, finished runner-up in 2016, and lifted the Gearco Cup in 2017. Last year, he participated in only four competitions due to an injury, but as before, if the driving distance exceeds 250 yards, there is a good chance of winning.

Lee So-yeong, who won six wins in the KLPGA, is also a strong player in the Shineo and Nakdong courses at Gaya Country Club. Lee So-young, who came in fourth in this competition in 2016 when she was a rookie, even won the championship in 2018. In particular, Lee So-young’s shot has risen enough to rank in the top 10 three times in the four competitions she has participated in this season. Lee Seung-yeon, who ranked first in long hits in 2021, is also preparing to recapture ‘Queen Gaya’ following 2019. Lee Seung-yeon is comfortable at the country club only after finishing 7th in the event last year.

Park Ji-young, who has never been far from the top ranks, including winning this season, is also a strong candidate for the championship. Park Ji-young entered the top 10 in all three competitions this season, including one win, and is running first in prize money and grand prize points. In particular, Park Ji-young climbed into the top 10 twice at the Gaya Country Club.

Lee Ye-won, who won the first championship in her life at the Lotte Rent-a-Car Open, the opening match in Korea this season, is also a candidate for the championship. Lee Ye-won’s driving distance in three games this season is 246.1 yards, an increase of about 6 yards from last year’s average.

Kim Min-byul, who has been on the rise in the top 10 for two weeks in a row, and Hwang Yu-min, who returned after finishing 9th in the Lotte Championship of the LPGA Tour, are also hoping for good results in this tournament. Hwang Yoo-min’s average driving distance this season is 257.9 yards, 1st overall, and Kim Min-byeol (253.8 yards) is 8th.

In addition, players who reported winning this season, such as Lee Jung-min and Lee Joo-mi, are also aiming for a second win of the season.