Updated: Feb, 2014

IL MI CHUNG

The Facts

Birthday: January 15, 1972
Rookie Year on LPGA: 2004
Birth Place: Pusan, South Korea
Best LPGA Finish: T-3rd (twice)
Best LPGA Major Finish: T-16th (2006 Weetabix Women's British Open)
Best score: 65
Best Scoring Average for a year: 71.73 (2006)
Best Season money total: $339,914 (2006)
Best Season Money Position: 37th (2006)
Most Top Tens/Season: 4 (2006)

Height: 5' 4"
2014 LPGA Status: None; Retired?
Nicknames: The Smile Queen
Sponsors: Enprecis
How's her English?: Decent
Hobbies: Watching movies, reading
Road to the LPGA: Chung qualified for the LPGA by finishing 17th at 2003 Q-School.

Capsule Bio

Il Mi Chung is one of the top players on the KLPGA, and has been for several years (in 2002 she was 2nd on the money list). Among her notable accomplishments are winning the Korean Open, beating such luminaries as Se Ri Pak, Gloria Park, Juli Inkster and Soo Yun Kang. Chung said at the time that she had no desire to come to the LPGA and was content to stay in Korea. However, in late 2003 she played the LPGA Q-School and succeeded in getting an exempt card for 2004.

2004 was not a good season for Il Mi, however. Shortly before leaving for the US, she lost her sponsorship deal. She had a hard time adjusting to the travel and conditions in the States, and only made $14,648 all year. However, at the end of the season, she got a new sponsor, a Korean golf manufacturer. With the pressure of earning money in events somewhat relieved, she promised that she would show the LPGA what she was capable of in 2005.

And indeed, 2005 proved her best season to date on tour. She even put herself into contention to win at the Canadian Women's Open, finishing third in the end. She made over $200,000 on the year and easily maintained her tour card for 2006.

In 2006, she improved yet again, finishing within the top 40 on the money list, and thus earning a two year exempt card. The highlight of her year was contending for the million dollar payout at the ADT Championship. She was only a shot or two out of the money until the 16th hole on Sunday, when she made a mistake that dropped her to fourth. Still, she had her career year.

2007 was a little bit of a step back; she had no top ten finishes that year, and only finished 51st on the money list, but still easily maintained her exempt status for 2008. In 2008, she had two top tens all year and once again earned her full membership card for 2009.

In December, 2008, Il Mi was named as a member of the LPGA Player Executive Committee, a seven member group of players that represents the players in dealings with the LPGA. She was the first Korean golfer to be named to that group. This is often the first step to becoming a full voting member on the LPGA's Board of Directors. Congratulations to her!

Il Mi made just $33,000 in 2010 and was demoted to partial tour status for 2011. She decided to return to the KLPGA as a full time member. But she struggled in 2011 on the KLPGA tour, making just one top ten, a 10th, while missing numerous cuts. She finished 71st on the money list, and had to return to Q-School. Amazingly, she was not able to get playing privileges on the big tour, and ended up playing on one of the junior tours in Korea.

She does not seem to have played any events on any Korean tour since 2012, and it looks as though she may have retired.

Galleries

2007
2005 - 2006
2003 and Before
Seoul Sisters Pix
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