Korea’s K.H. Lee couldn’t have asked for a better way to prepare for The Open Championship this week after tapping on insights from a former Women’s British Open champion.
Lee, a two-time PGA TOUR winner, has been able to tap on valuable advice and insights from seven-time LPGA Tour winner, I.K. Kim, who was the 2017 Women’s British Open champion, on how to tackle the links test at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake.
“I.K. is a really good friend of mine. She’s a legendary player on the LPGA Tour and has a lot of experience, more than me. She’s been walking with me during the practice rounds and spending time on the practice green, telling me certain things like where to land certain shots, and not change the technique, but to manage the speed better,” said Lee, who is making a second appearance in The Open after missing the cut at St Andrews last year.
“It’s more on positioning and course management on this golf course. In some spots, she’s telling me it may be better to chip instead of putting it. I’m really thankful she’s trying to help me. I’ve enjoyed my practice rounds with her being around. It’s been fun. The majors are always stressful and a lot of pressure. But not this week as she’s been around.
“She’s an icon on the LPGA Tour, a major winner. A lot of young players look up to her and wants to be like I.K. We’ve been trying to plan to be together at the Open over the last few years and we’ve managed to get it done this week which I’m happy about.”
Lee is amongst a strong Korean contingent at Royal Liverpool hoping to challenge for The Open title. The others include Tom Kim, Sungjae Im, Si Woo Kim, Byeong Hun An, Bio Kim and Kang Kyung Nam.
The 31-year-old Lee enjoyed four rounds of links golf at last week’s Genesis Scottish Open where he finished 72nd after a final round 77 in blustery conditions at Renaissance Golf Club. It snapped a streak of four missed cuts in a row on the PGA TOUR, which has put Lee in a better frame of mind ahead of the year’s final major.
He knows he needs to post some solid finishes in the coming weeks to lock up his spot in the FedExCup Playoffs where Lee is currently ranked 69th on the points list. The top-70 qualify for the lucrative three-event series.
“First time here at Royal Liverpool and it’s a really cool place. You have to deal with the winds. It looks like there won’t be too many drivers around here and more positioning play and you’ll need good iron shots. It’s a challenging test,” said Lee.
“Last week was pretty hard, especially playing with the winds. I struggled with my putting in windy conditions, so I’ve focused on my putting this week. I also learned I need to have more patience. When I made a bogey last week, I wanted to try to make a birdie immediately which put me in more difficult positions. I’ll try to be more patient here and on easy holes, try to make birdies and not be aggressive on every hole, and play more smart golf.”