In Gee Chun proved that she was always going to be more than a ‘one-time Major champion’ when she picked up her second major title with a record-breaking performance at the Evian Championship, at Evian-Les-Bains in France.
She had previously won the 2015 US Women’s Open in Pennsylvania by four shots.
The 22-year-old South Korean holed a tricky 10-footer to finish on 21 under par, breaking the record for men and women of 20 co-held by Henrik Stenson (2016 Open Championship) and Jason Day (2015 PGA Championship). She bettered the women’s record by two shots, held by Inbee Park at the 2015 Women’s PGA Championship.
Chun led from start to finish in a dominant display, and the fact her final round, a 69, was the highest of her week, speaks volumes for the way she held things together.
‘I just cannot believe I won the Evian Championship and made 21 under par,’ Chun said as she clutched the trophy, her voice breaking with emotion. ‘I’m not dreaming, right?’
It had been a resounding turnaround for a player who had missed the cut at the same tournament last year and tied for 65th in 2014.
Chun is said to have been a maths genius with a high IQ and only started playing golf as a 12-year-old when her father accompanied her to the driving range.
She takes up the story. ‘I really enjoyed studying and I was doing pretty well at school. But one day my father and my father’s friend took me to a golf range and they asked me to hit some shots. And then I tried to swing the club but the result wasn’t that good. Then my father and my father’s friend teased me a little bit and I got fired up, and I felt I could do it. Then I decided to spend some time in golf, and I fell in love with golf.
‘My parents tried everything not to make me feel any financial difficulties, not letting me know that, so that I could just enjoy the game. I realised later they must have had a hard time financially. After that, right at the moment, I met my coach and what I learned from home was enjoying the game. So without thinking anything negatively, all I could do was just enjoy the game.’
Enjoyment is certainly key to her success. Her Twitter handle includes the word ‘Dumbo’… and she explains why. ‘My name is Dumbo. Back in Korea my name was known as Dumbo after my first win, and everyone calls me Dumbo. In the US, some American fans recognised that nickname and called me Dumbo. And some even shouting it, “Let’s go, Dumbo”, that has made me really enjoy the game.’
Born: 10 August 1994 (age 22)
Turned pro: 2012
Rolex ranking: 7
Career earnings: $1 405 054
Average driving distance: 255.39m (ranked 66th)
Putts per GIR: 1.74 (2nd)
Putting average: 29.02 (4th)
Scoring average: 69.52 (2nd)