Counting down the Symetra Tour's top 12 stories of 2012: No. 5

Photo Credit: Scott Miller

Over the next 12 days leading up to the new year, will count down the top-12 most memorable stories of the tour’s 2012 season. Coming in at No. 5 is Esther Choe earning Player of the Year honors.

Choe earns her breakthrough, claims Player of the Year honors

The No. 5 moment in 2012 goes to a player who has endured many struggles in her young career but put together a brilliant season to breakthrough. It has been an up-and-down road for Esther Choe since she turned professional five years ago, but 2012 proved to be a breakout season for the Scottsdale, Ariz. native as she was named this year’s Symetra Tour’s Player of the Year.

Everything seemed to click this year for Choe, as she earned the top honor in record-breaking fashion. Choe finished atop the tour’s money list with the fewest events (six) played in history of Tour, beating out Grace Park and Lorena Ochoa who had previously held the record with 10 events in 1999 and 2002 respectively.

“I didn’t expect it coming in this year,” said Choe. “I’ve been struggling the last few years but I feel like I’ve always made positive improvements. I never gave up and kept trying things. I think I finally got a good team of people together around me and I just started thinking positively.”

Although she played in just six events, Choe was the only two-time winner on Tour this season, posting victories at the Sara Bay Classic and Riviera Nayarit Classic. In addition to her two wins, Choe also finished runner-up at the Northeast Delta Dental International and tied for second at the season-ending Daytona Beach Invitational Presented by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Choe was one of two players, the other being Nicole Smith, to spend 15 out of the 16 weeks this year inside the top-10 on the Volvik Race for the Card.

“I feel like it’s been coming for a while, since I won the first two (events),” said Choe. “After I won the second, I knew I would be getting it but actually having it happen is a crazy good feeling. To finally get my card is so awesome. And I’ve definitely come a long way so it’s even sweeter.”

Since joining the Symetra Tour in 2007, Choe’s best year on tour prior to this season came in 2010 when she recorded five top-10 finishes and ended the season in12th place on the money list with $36,894.

The accolade as the tour’s top player places Choe in a category alongside former Symetra Tour Players of the Year, including Lorena Ochoa, Stacy Prammanasudh, Cindy LaCrosse, and Vicky Hurst.

Coming into the 2013 LPGA Tour season, Choe will be considered one of the front runners to win the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year. She will rely heavily on experience gained for the Symetra and LET Tours as she recorded one top-five finish and four top-20 finishes on the 2012 LET. 

Topics: Counting Down, Esther Choe