Major winner Yoo back on course at new LPGA event

17 April 2012 06:46

South Korea's Sun Young Yoo, fresh off capturing her first major title earlier this month, returns to the course starting Wednesday at the inaugural $1.7 million LPGA Lotte Championship.

The 72-hole event with a Saturday finish features a field of 144 chasing a top prize of $255,000 at Oahu's Ko Olina Golf Club, which has hosted nine prior LPGA events, most recently in 2008 when American Paula Creamer was the winner.

Yoo sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole three weeks ago to win the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship after compatriot I.K. Kim missed a one-foot putt for the title on the final hole of regulation.

"It was my dream winning a major and I couldn't believe I won," Yoo said. "Everybody is calling me as a major champion now but I'm the still same person."

Yoo, 25, is in her eighth LPGA season. Yoo ranks 15th in the world and second on the LPGA money list with $488,987. Aside from her major title, she won her only other LPGA crown at the 2010 Sybase Match Play Championship.

The recent advancement after years of top-10 finishes has not come as a surprise for Yoo.

"I've been working so hard on my game and I just want to believe that hard work pays off," Yoo said. "My goal for the rest of season is two wins and to finish in the top 10 on the money list. I want to be a very consistent player for my career."

World No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan, a winner of three of the season's first six LPGA events, is also among the favorites. She has not finished outside of the top 10 all season.