“I’m so excited and grateful that so many people are recognizing me and so many people are supporting me. I feel like a celebrity.”
Bang Shin-sil, 19, the “300-yard hit girl,” laughed when asked if she realized her recent popularity.
Bang won the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour’s E1 Charity Open ($900 million in prize money) by two strokes in the final three rounds at Seongmunan Country Club (par-72) in Wonju, Gangwon Province, on Monday with a final total of 9-under-par 207.
With three championship group finishes in the past month and a win in just her fifth KLPGA Tour event, Bang has become one of the most talked about players on the tour right now. With her long drives of nearly 300 yards, she has injected some much-needed energy into the dormant KLPGA Tour, and her fans are cheering her on. There are quite a few galleries that visit the tournament to watch her.
“I was disappointed that I didn’t win the championship in the last two championship groups, but it was a good experience for me to win the championship,” said Bang Shin-sil, who has now become known as a ‘super rookie’.
“Today, I chose to play it safe and stay in the fairway rather than being aggressive. Two weeks ago, she held a one-stroke lead going into the 16th hole of the final three rounds of the NH Investment & Securities Ladies Championship before missing out on victory after hitting her driver out of bounds (OB) on the 17th hole. “I tried to capitalize on my previous mistakes,” Bang added.
“The fairways were wet, so I had less distance off the tee, but the greens were soft, so it was easier to hit my middle iron,” he said.
Bang, a former national ace who finished 40th in the KLPGA Tour Seeding Rankings last year and was only a conditional seed, said, “My friends and 먹튀검증 sisters who played for the national team all made it to the regular tour, but I was struggling because I didn’t make it. But now I’m so happy and it’s like a dream,” she smiled shyly.
“It’s good that I don’t have to worry about that anymore,” laughed Bang, who had to compete on the Dream Tour (Part 2) and sometimes played for a whole week.
Although he was a long hitter when he played for the national team, averaging 235 meters with his driver, Bang credits two and a half months of swing speed training with adding nearly 20 meters to his distance through winter training. “I practiced a lot of empty swings for an hour and a half every morning, noon and night, using swing tools and swinging hard,” he said. This helped me increase my swing speed significantly,” he explains.
However, he realized that he needs to improve his accuracy rather than adding more distance. “My biggest challenge is to improve my tee shot accuracy because I’m a long hitter and my fairway percentage is low,” he said.
Bang pointed to the 16th hole (par-5) as the deciding factor in his victory. With a one-stroke lead, Bang’s second shot for a two-on was just short of the green, but his running approach got the ball to within 80 centimeters of the pin for a birdie and a two-stroke lead.
“My parents must have been waiting for this moment because they suffered a lot more than I did last year, so I’m glad I was able to bring them joy,” said Bang, who took home 162 million won in prize money. “I want to buy my parents a meal with my first win.”
“There are so many good players, so I have to put aside my rookie ambitions, and my goal is to be in the top 10 consistently,” said Bang Shin-sil, who has risen to third place in the rookie rankings with this victory, sparking a full-fledged rookie competition.
However, he added that he would like to win the KB Financial Star Championship, a major event organized by the main sponsor.
“I want to learn from her strong mentality and sincerity, and my goal is to become the No. 1 player in the world,” said Ko, 28, who is currently ranked No. 1.