started playing golf at the age of 12. Her biggest splash as an
amateur came at the 1996 World Championship, which she won. She
then turned pro, and focused her playing in Korea on the KLPGA,
although she did play international events from time to time. By
and large, her results in Korea have been very impressive. She has
won numerous tournaments there, and has finished atop the KLPGA
money list on several occasions. Even when not the best player in
the league, she has been in the top three, as she was in 2002. She
has also impressed many by beating formidable competitors in Korean
events, including Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Se Ri Pak and Laura
also became known for her fashion sense. Impeccably dressed in striking,
sometimes daring clothes that looked great on her model-like body,
Soo-Yun gained the nickname 'The Fashion Model of the Fairways'
decided to come to the LPGA, but was only able to get non-exempt
status for the 2001 season. In her rookie season she only played
three events, missing the cut in two of them and finishing tied
for 42nd in the third. I suspect she was not able to get into a
lot of fields due to her status. Korean players, even great ones,
tend to take about a dozen events to hit their stride in the States,
and Kang never got the chance to do that in 2001. So she returned
to Korea, where she again played well on the KLPGA.
2002, she tried again at Q-School. This time she made an exempt
card with little trouble, finishing tenth. Her 2003 season was an
excellent one: she managed six top tens, including a second place
finish at the Takefuji Classic, during which she was in contention
almost the entire way. She put herself in contention a couple more
times, but had a prolonged slump in the middle of the season. Towards
the end she climbed out of that and had several more chances to
win, including a strong performance at the Safeway Classic.
easily set career bests in several categories during 2003, and finished
33rd on the money list. She was even featured in an article in ESPN
the Magazine highlighting the 'Next Players', meaning the athletes
in different sports that we can expect to see as stars in the near
future (actually, I was the one who nominated her for this honor
after the article's author asked me for an opinion of which Korean
player on tour might be one to watch!! So prove me right, Soo-Yun!).
proved to be a minor step back for Soo-Yun. She did not manage quite
as many top tens or good performances as in 2003. She did have her
best Major performance to date at the LPGA Championship, but even
there, she looked primed to have a great performance, but slipped
back on the final day. Nonetheless, she still easily maintained
her exempt status on tour, and got another valuable year of experience
struggled with consistency early in 2005. She had a couple of good
performances, but seemed mired in the same slump she had been in
since joining the LPGA. Everything changed one week in Portland.
She played brilliantly at the Safeway Classic, winning in convincing
fashion for her first ever tour victory. From that point to the
end of the season, she had one solid finish after another; even
a wrist injury only slowed her a little. As a result, she was not
only named to the Pinx Cup team at the end of the year, she was
made the Captain. She wound up finishing 14th on the money list,
by far her best season to date.
2006 was a giant step back for Soo-Yun. She struggled most of the
year with recurring neck injuries that killed her ability to practice
and get any momentum going. As a result, she missed a lot of cuts,
and was only able to produce a single top ten all year.
in 2006, Soo-Yun Kang and her designer sister started a jewelry
design business called PotionNY. For more details, check out their
website here: http://www.potionny.com/about.php
was another terrible year for Kang, who made less than $40,000 all
year and failed to make even a single top 20 all year. She remains
exempt thanks to her 2005 win, but her neck issues have made it
tough for her to compete at her former high level. At least she
was still able to get sponsors; besides her deal with Hite Beer,
she also signed on in December to represent Tovice Leisure Group.
2008, Kang has continued to struggle, although she improved markedly
over 2007, nearly making top tens in a couple of cases, and earning
well over $100,000. In October, she returned to Korea to play in
her sponsor's tournament, the Hite Cup, and nearly won, finishing
second, three shots behind KLPGA superstar Ji Yai Shin.
was not that good of a season for her, but she did have one great
tournament, the Corning Classic. She shot a 65 in both the first
and third rounds and found herself tied for the lead with just one
hole to play. Alas, she wound up three putting that final hole to
forfeit the win, but she still finished second, her best LPGA result
in some time.
was an even worse year for Kang. She made just a little over $50,000
all year. She still maintained reasonably decent status on tour,
but entered JLPGA Qualifying School in the Fall, earning full membership
on that tour for 2011. She said she intended to focus her efforts
there from now on.
indeed, that's what she did. She only played one LPGA event in 2011,
the Mizuno Classic, the only LPGA event co-sanctioned by the JLPGA.
Kang wound up finishing 38th on the JLPGA money list, earning around
22 million yen for the year. She continued to play on the JLPGA
in 2012, finishing 17th on the tour money list. She lead after the
second round at the Nichirei in June, but was beaten by Hyun Ju
Shin and finished second.
2013, at 37 years of age, Kang finally broke through with her first
JLPGA win! It came at the Stanley Ladies event in October. Kang
went on to finish 22nd on the money list with more than 44 million
followed that with another solid year in 2014. She finished 34th
on the money list with nearly 30 million yen earned. She had five
top tens, including a tie for second, a tie for fourth and a tie
for fifth. She finished tied for 49th at the LPGA's Mizuno Classic
at the end of the year.