Posted: July 12, 2015 12:10 am
One is a 22-year-old native of South Korea.
The other is a 38-year-old product of Japan.
At opposite ends of the spectrum age-wise, what In Gee Chun and Shiho Oyama have in common is that both have much to play for in Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club.
Competing in her first U.S. Open, Chun carded a 2-under 68 Saturday to go 4-under for the tournament and hold third place behind Amy Yang and Stacy Lewis.
“Today I could sense the major setting of the course and the rough is rough, the rough is growing,” said Chun. “My shots were not as good as the first two days, but I tried to manage it. I tried to be thinking always. Golf is a percentage game, so I tried to be on the more safe side and tried to survive.”
By her own admission, Chun, who is not only a golf prodigy but a math prodigy with a genius-level IQ, tried not to overthink the situation. She used her instinct more than intelligence to analyze the course and her shots.
“I play better when I respond to my instinct rather than thinking logically,” she said. “The more I think about playing golf the more I get into trouble. So I try to stay with my instinct.”
Her nickname is “Dumbo,” but obviously not for reasons relating to intellect. Rather the moniker comes from here tendency to hear everything around her, as an elephant does.
Chun turned pro in 2012. She joined the Korean LPGA (KLPGA) in 2013 and enjoyed a fantastic first year, earning nine top-10 finishes and finishing third on the money list.
Thanks to rounds of 68-70-68 in her first U.S. Open, she finds herself in the money again.
While this is Chun’s first U.S. Open, it’s Oyama’s first since 2007. After blistering LCC with a 66 Friday, she shot 37 on the front nine Saturday before rebounding with a 34.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t make my putts, but I will do my best (Sunday),” she said.
Carding 70-66-71 the first three rounds to hold fourth place, Oyama believes she has overcome the obstacles that have held her back the past few years.
“I (had) some injuries and I struggled with my playing the last few years,” she said. “But thanks to everyone’s support I came back.”