South Korean golfer Lee Jeong-eun has won the qualifying event for the LPGA Tour for next season, though she isn't yet sure if she'll take her talent to the top competition right away.
Lee, the reigning Korea LPGA Tour Player of the Year and world No. 19, won the inaugural LPGA Q-Series with an eight-round total of 18-under 558 at Pinehurst Course in Pinehurst, North Carolina, on Saturday (local time).
The Q-Series replaced the three-step qualifying tournament, more commonly known as Q-School, and the top 20 players after eight rounds earned full LPGA status, while those finishing in 21st to 45th places earned conditional LPGA membership for 2019.
Lee started the final round in second place, two strokes behind Sarah Schmelzel. Lee fired a two-under 70, while Schmelzel struggled to a 76 and dropped to third place. Jennifer Kupcho ended in second place at 17-under.
Lee dominated the KLPGA in 2017, winning a tour-best four tournaments while leading everyone in money and scoring average.
This year, Lee has been splitting her time between the Korean tour and the US tour and still leads the KLPGA in money and scoring average.
Lee is scheduled to play in the KLPGA season finale, the ADT Caps Championship, starting Thursday.
The 22-year-old said she'll have to speak with her family once she's back home before deciding where she'll play next year.
"I didn't go to the Q-Series with plans of playing on the LPGA Tour even if I qualified," Lee said. "I don't speak English, and I just think the US is too big of a country. I'll have to talk to my parents and my sponsors."
Lee said she didn't expect to come out on top at the qualifying event and she was surprised how well it all turned out for her.
"The greens were really fast, and the par-3 holes were quite long," Lee said. "Overall, the fairways were tight and I had to concentrate hard on every shot. Playing eight rounds over two weeks was more challenging than I thought it would be, but I think it was a fair process." (Yonhap)