After carding an eagle on her second hole played today, No. 11, Yaeeun Hong (Seoul, Republic of Korea) went on to card a 6-under par in her first nine holes. She maintained her 6-under par 66 to finish the first round with a one stroke lead going into Friday.
“I was 135 yards out and said ok I am going to play an 8-iron. My ball usually plays a draw, but I decided to play a fade. I thought it was going to be short and it stopped right behind the pin. I thought, ok that is good, but everyone said ‘wow’ and I realized there was only the pin, and the ball went in. I made eagle and thought, wow, that’s a good way to start.”
The “Road to the LPGA” rookie was only able to compete in one Symetra Tour tournament last season due to COVID-19. In her only start in 2020 at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, Hong finished tied for third.
“It was a little lucky. I was not feeling very well last year and when I came last year, I was really nervous because I came here alone. I also didn’t have a caddy then do my agent caddied for me which was really nice,” said Hong. “I finished good because I had no pressure and had fun.
“I only played three tournaments last year, so I really wanted to come back to the Tour and play. Without tournaments, it didn’t feel like I was living,” said Hong. “It feels really good to compete on the Symetra Tour and it’s nice to be back.”
After missing the cut at the first event of the season, Hong started to find her momentum in Beaumont, CA. Finishing T20 at the IOA Championship in windy conditions, Hong views the final round weather as preparation for this week.
“In Morongo, the last day there was a lot of wind and when I got here it was the same wind. I told myself okay I just did it in Morongo so I can do it here,” Hong said. “My shots were getting better that week so it felt really good.”
- Born September 14, 2002
- Hong is a native of Seoul, Republic of Korea
- Seven-time medalist during her amateur career
- Represented native country at 2018 World Amateur Team Championship
- Signed with YIM Agency
- Winner of the 2019 Australian Women’s Amateur Championship to earn exemption into ISPS Handa Vic Open and ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open