Know Your Asians: Hee Kyung Seo (Hee Kee-On See-Oh)
By Stephanie Wei under General

There’s an influx of Asians on the LPGA. And they’re really good. In fact, they win a lot. But many fans find it difficult to keep track of who is who because, you know, all Asians look alike and their names sound the same. So, let’s get to know them better.

The LPGA kicked off its first tournament on US soil this week with the KIA Classic at La Costa Resort & Spa. After two rounds, you’ll never believe this, but there are seven Korean players in the top-10. (Shocking, I know!) In the spirit of “Know Your Asians,” I thought I’d feature the 36-hole leader, Hee Kyung Seo, who carded seven-under to hold a one-stroke advantage over fellow countrywoman In-Kyung Kim. Pardon my ignorance, but I’d never heard of Seo until this week. (Chances are that most of you hadn’t either.) And you’ll never believe this either, but there’s not a ton about her online, so thank you to Seoul Sisters for the background info.

  • Born in South Korea, she’s 23 years old.
  • Nickname: Supermodel of the Fairways (I can see how she got that one judging from the pic above!).
  • Her English fluency? She’s still learning.
  • She joined the KLPGA in 2006 and is currently still a full-time player on that tour.
  • After the 2007 season, she practiced with LPGA star Jiyai Shin, who inspired Seo to work harder on her short game.
  • In 2008 she won three KLPGA tournaments in a row, a feat few have achieved.
  • At the KLPGA Awards Show in both 2008 and 2009, she took the stage with other KLPGA players to perform a dance number (she’s multi-talented!).
  • Seo won three out of four KLPGA majors and placed second in the other during the 2009 season.
  • In five starts on the LPGA last year, her best finishes were T15 at both the Kolon-Hana Bank Championship and SBS Open.
  • She hopes she can win on the LPGA so she can get her card.
  • She says she feels comfortable at the KIA Classic this week and it feels “like Korea.”
  • Playing at La Costa, she has her eye on one of the beautiful houses, which she joked she’d like to buy if she “gets a lot of money.”
  • Juli Inkster is her role model on the LPGA because “I think she’s enjoying golf, and I think she’s a good mother.”
  • Seo also points out, “Some of the Korean players not getting married and don’t have babies because of golf, but I want to be like Juli.” (Got that, guys?)

Asian-ness Scale (1-10, 1: Michelle Wie, totally Americanized; 5: Se Ri Pak, somewhat assimilated; 10: Eun-Hee Ji, 한국말): Hee Kyung = 8.5