Jeon Ji-won , who returned to the first division this year after returning to the second division of the LPGA Tour, asked if she had ever eaten tearful bread while living in the second division. Jeon said, “I was really lonely and it was a tough tour,” but added, “I don’t feel like I ate tearful bread.”

Jeon Ji-won, whom I met recently, said, “It wasn’t that difficult because I had a strong determination to overcome it. In the second part, I had many experiences to feel the scent of people.”

Jeon Ji-won, who won a Korean junior competition at the age of 15, went to the U.S. to study in Australia and blossomed. She was the only full seeded Korean rookie in the 2020 season. However, the tour was drastically reduced due to COVID-19, and the following year, she ruptured ligaments in her fingers due to overuse, preventing her from showing full performance again. After losing her seed and being rejected by Qualifying School in 2022, I seriously agonized over whether this is the right way for me. I ended my worry that I would try my best for one year. Since there was no competition, I started my day as a personal training session at 7 a.m. and practiced putting for two hours a day. I did not look at my phone and focused on shooting and short games for three to four hours.

While pushing forward, he set his sights on “two wins” in the 2023 season, but only managed to achieve two wins in the second division. He also shot 8-under 64, the lowest score for 18 holes in a competition, on a course designed by Pete Die, who is known for being picky. Having regained her LPGA tour card in two years, Jeon is having an exciting early season. Having returned to action in January, Jeon will also compete in the Fur Hills Park Championship, which will take place near Los Angeles this week.

Standing 155 cm tall and nicknamed “Little Giant,” Jeon said, “I believed that if I worked this hard, I would definitely be able to achieve that level. It’s just the difference between coming out early or coming out a little late.”

The venue for the second part of the tour is usually located in the countryside. It is better to drive because it is far from the airport. The whole country went on tour, driving for 10 hours. It must have been a tough life, but he said, “I had a lot of fun carpooling with my colleagues.”

The second part of the tour operates a host system. Residents near the stadium offer guests a week’s lodging and meals, which is a precious system for underprivileged players. Jeon also used the system about 10 times last year. “It was an experience where I could feel the scent of the people I wanted to see,” said Jeon, who was in a “bubble” of having to stay in a limited space when COVID-19 hit the tour. “Some people said they felt like they had a daughter while staying in and out. They called me again to congratulate me on winning the first seed and asked me to come back to the game. I realized how it feels to be sincerely cheered on.”

Jeon Ji-won, who refined his iron shot under the guidance of his new coach, Kim Do-hoon, a gold medalist in the team event at the 2006 Doha Asian Games, said, “I think I can praise myself if I win at least one match this year and rank in the top 20 in player points this year.” “From the moment I won my first championship, I was sure that two wins would be far away,” he said. “The scariest thing in my tour life is mental breakdown, but after overcoming it, I feel even stronger inside. Among Korean players participating in the LPGA tour, I am middle-aged, and I want to help the Korean corps increase the number of joint championships.”


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