Updated: Jan, 2014

CHELLA CHOI

The Facts

Birthday: August 25, 1990
Korean Name: Woon Joong Choi
Rookie Year on LPGA:
2009
Birthplace: Taegu, South Korea
American Home City: Jacksonville, FL
Best LPGA Finish: 2nd (2013 Mizuno Classic)
Best LPGA Major Finish: T-5th (2013 Wegman's LPGA Championship)
Best Score: 63 (2012 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic)
Best Scoring Average for a year: 70.69 (2013)
Best Season Money Total: $739,441 (2013)
Best Season Money Position: 17th (2013)
Most Top Tens/Season: 7 (2012, 2013)

Height: 5' 6"
2014 LPGA Status: Category 1
Nicknames: None Known
Sponsors: Fila (Bag, clothes)
How's her English?: Still learning
Road to the LPGA: Finished top 20 at 2008 Q-School, earning one of the last full tour cards in a playoff

Career Highlights

Chella Choi played on the Korean National team as an amateur. She turned pro in 2008 and played for a year on the Futures Tour. In the Fall, she earned a card on the LPGA tour by winning a playoff for the last cards.

Choi earned full status for the tour in 2010, but her breakthrough came in 2012, when she finished in the top 20 on the money list and contended for multiple titles. 2013 was an even better year: she made two top six finishes at Majors and narrowly lost in Japan. She still seeks her first tour win as she enters the 2014 season.

Full Bio

Chella Choi was a member of the 2006 Korean National Second Team; that year, she also won the Korea Junior Golf Association Championship.

In 2007, she played at a KLPGA event and finished 14th while still an amateur. At the end of that year, she turned pro and came to America, where she joined the Futures Tour. In 2008, she played 17 events on tour, making four top tens including a second place finish. She finished the year ranked 17th on tour in money.

That December, she went to LPGA Qualifying School. By the end of the week, she was one of four players left playing for the final two full membership cards. They played three holes to determine their fate. Choi birdied the first, and after three holes, had the lead; one of the two cards was hers! Thus, she became a rookie on tour in 2009.

In 2009, Choi worked hard to gain full status, but in the end just fell short, finishing 86th on the year end money list. Her best finish was a 20th. Choi's record improved in 2010. She made twice as much money, finished higher on the money list, and earned category 1 status for 2011. She was still looking for her first top ten finish, however.

Chella's career made a major move up in 2011. She scored her first two top tens, had a fabulous US Women's Open where she nearly made another top ten, and made over $300,000 on the season to finish 35th on the money list. She also had a scoring average below par for the first time ever. This performance positioned her as one of the most promising of the young Koreans on tour.

In 2012, Chella took another huge leap forward in her career, contending multiple times for titles and finishing in the top 20 on the money list (20th) for the first time in her career. She still didn't win, but she lost in a playoff at the Manulife, where she shot her career best score of 63 in the final round, and was tied for the lead on the back nine at the CN Canadian Women's Open before fading to 3rd. She notched five other top tens, another career best, including her first ever top ten in a Major at the British Open and a tie for third at the Jamie Farr and the HSBC Brasil Cup. Her scoring average was also a career best, and she earned twice what she had in her previous best season, 2011.

Chella revealed to the press that she intended to keep her father as her caddie until she won her first LPGA event, upon which he would be allowed to retire. In 2013, Chella's dad came close to retiring several times, but he will still be on her bag in 2014. Still, it was another season where she improved a lot. Her best moment probably came at the Mizuno Classic, where she vaulted into the lead in the final round thanks to a 66, only to see Theresa Lu, a Taiwanese player who had lost LPGA privileges and played on the JLPGA, shoot a 64, with birdies on her final two holes, to zoom ahead of her and get the win. Chella's solo second place finish was her career best.

Chella also was a factor at two different Majors. She contended at the Evian until a triple bogey late on Sunday dropped her to sixth. She also played well at the LPGA Championship, where she made her best ever Major finish, a tie for 5th. At the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic she led after three rounds, but could not find enough birdies on Sunday and finished tied for 4th.

In 2013, Chella managed 7 top tens, finished a career high 17th on the money list, made more than $750,000 on the year (also a career record), and had a fantastic 70.69 scoring average, 10th in the league. With Amy Yang finally getting her first win in 2013, Chella has now become the best Korean golfer without a tour win. Hopefully she will cross that goal off her list in 2014!

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