Updated: January, 2014

SUN JU AHN

The Facts

Birthday: August 31, 1987
Rookie Year on JLPGA: 2010
Birthplace: South Korea
Best LPGA Finish: T-6th (2007 Kolon-Hana Bank Championship; 2007 Evian Masters)
Best LPGA Major Finish: T-13th (2009 US Women's Open)
Height: 5' 3"
2014 LPGA Status: On JLPGA Tour
Nicknames: Big Mama, Ahn of Green Gables
Sponsors: Pan Korea
How's her English?: Unknown
Hobbies: Unknown
Road to the LPGA: Not on tour yet

Capsule Bio

Sun Ju Ahn joined the KLPGA tour in 2006. She had a pretty good rookie year, collecting a win and 8 other top tens, including two second place finishes. Despite that, she was thoroughly overshadowed by another rookie at the time, Ji Yai Shin.

But in 2007, her career really took off. She played very well in two Australian events, scoring top tens in both and even leading the ANZ Masters for a while before fading to 4th. When she returned to the KLPGA, she made an immediate impact, winning the second event she played that year, the first KB Star Tour event. But it was her performance at the year's biggest event, the Korean Women's Open, that really put her on the map. She held off American star Cristie Kerr to win the title and take over first place on the money list.

Eventually, Shin would reassert her dominance in a major way, but Ahn would win a third KLPGA event in 2007 and collect 12 top tens in total. She finished third on the money list, and established herself as a budding superstar in Korean golf.

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2008 did not start as strongly for Ahn, and several other young players played better than she did for the first half of the season. She did still manage multiple top tens, but rarely contended. But in the second half of the season, she turned things around. She decided to play on the LPGA tour in 2009, and played in the first Qualifying School sectional. She won it, beating players such as Michelle Wie and Stacy Lewis in the process. Shortly after returning to Korea, she finished second at the year's second KLPGA major, then won her first event of 2008 the following week, the Samsung Finance. She lost in a playoff to Ji Yai Shin at the year's third major, the 4th KB Star Tour event. She came really close to winning at the final event she played that season, the St. Four, an event jointly sponsored by the Ladies European Tour. Ahn led most of the week, but Hee Kyung Seo made four straight birdies at the end of the final round to catch and pass Ahn for the title.

Despite that disappointment, it had been another great season on the KLPGA for Ahn. She amassed 14 top tens and a solid record on tour. Now it was time for LPGA Qualifying School and her chance to join her good friends Eun Hee Ji and Ji Yai Shin in America. She played terribly in the first round, however, and eventually had to drop out with an injury. So, she would be returning to Korea for at least one more year.

2009 was another strong season on the KLPGA for Big Mama. She was very consistent, achieving 12 top tens on the year. She won twice and finished third on the money list. She was so consistent that she led the league in scoring average much of the year, despite not winning as often as So Yeon Ryu or Hee Kyung Seo (she eventually finished second behind Seo in that stat).

She also had a good year internationally, the highlight being a 13th place finish at the US Women's Open, her best Major finish to date.

In 2008, Ahn had tried and failed to qualify for the LPGA tour (due to injury). In 2009, she entered JLPGA Q-School instead, successfully earning a tour card for 2010.

It didn't take her long to make a splash on that tour. In her very first event, she carded a five shot victory over a field that included LPGA stars Inbee Park and Jiya Shin, who finished tied for 2nd. Ahn led the money list most of the year, sometimes by a huge margin, and wound up becoming the first Korean to ever win the JLPGA money list.

Her most impressive stretch came in the summer, when she recorded ten straight top five finishes, which included three wins. One of those wins was a dominating 7 shot blowout over Shin. In all, she had 4 wins in 2010, 2 seconds, 2 more thirds and 19 total top tens in 27 starts. In every way, it was a phenomenal rookie campaign.

Ahn came into the 2011 JLPGA season with a target on her back. To her credit, she continued her high level of play without hesitation, racking up four more wins, including her first Major at the Salonpas Cup, to once again lead the JLPGA money list. She had become the first foreigner to ever accomplish that feat twice (even more impressive was that fellow Korean Ji Hee Lee was #2 on the list, the first foreign 1-2 in JLPGA history). Her win at the Sankyo Ladies Open in October was the 100th win by a Korean on that tour, and happened at roughly the same time as Na Yeon Choi achieved the 100th win by an ethnic Korean on the LPGA. She ended the year ranked #6 in the world, the second highest ranking Korean (behind Na Yeon Choi).

Ahn also played four times on the LPGA tour in 2011. She missed the cut at the US Women's Open and Evian Masters, but notched top 20s at the British Women's Open and the Mizuno Classic.

Ahn had another strong season on the JLPGA in 2013, although not quite as good as her first two years (weirdly, she did not play any LPGA events in 2012). Her biggest win came in May, when she captured the Salonpas Cup for her second career JLPGA Major; she beat Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel in a playoff. Among her other highlights: she lost in a playoff to Bo Mee Lee at the Daikin Orchid Ladies in March; she lost a playoff to Shanshan Feng at the Meiji Cup in August; she won her 10th JLPGA event at the Nitori Ladies in August, and followed that up with her third win of the season at the next event, the Golf5 Ladies.

Ahn's three wins and 101 million yen was extremely strong, but not enough for her to win her third straight money list title. She had to settle for fourth. But Mi Jeong Jeon and Bo Mee Lee were first and second, meaning Koreans captured three of the top four spots on the JLPGA money list in 2012!

2013 started as a weaker year for Ahn. She did manage back-to-back wins on the JLPGA in the Fall, however, , and came close to making it three straight. In the end she finished 4th on the money list with around 91 million yen earned, the top Korean during a season where the Japanese players reestablished control on their tour.

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