Superb ball Striking Leads to Record-Tying Round for In Gee Chun
By Keith Stewart, PGA
In Gee Chun of the Republic of Korea hits her tee shot on the second hole during the first round for the 2022 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club on June 23, 2022 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Darren Carroll/PGA of America
In Gee Chun is no stranger to the big stage. The 27-year-old LPGA standout has three career victories. It just so happens that two of her wins are major championships. She won the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open and 2016 Evian Championship. Her 64 in Round 1 was more than 10 shots better than the field average for round one.
Ever since she stole the stage at Lancaster Country Club in 2015 winning the US Open prior to gaining LPGA membership, her fans have always expected days like Thursday at Congressional Country Club. Players, officials, and fans have been raving about the transformation to this golf course. Everyone expected it to be a true major test, but nobody told In-Gee. Less than twenty players of 156 broke par in the first round!
How did Chun churn out so many birdies? Her hot flat-stick helped, but on approach she was truly on fire. In the middle of her round, she finished her first nine holes with four straight birdies. Expand it out a couple more holes and she played eight holes around the turn in six under par.
Take a quick look at the video again. Keep the pause on and scroll through that first scorecard swing. Pay attention to her extension through the ball. Watch her reach for the sky. That doesn’t happen on the way through unless she starts that extension on the takeaway. Too many amateurs don’t create enough width in the backswing. In Gee earned Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year honors in 2016 because of her superb ball striking.
Burn that image of her long arms into your golf brain. The next time you find yourself on the practice tee, try this drill.
Take out a nine iron and tee up a ball slightly off the ground. Place the grip in just your trail hand and address the ball. Take your lead arm and throw it behind your back. Now try to hit the ball off the tee with a one arm swing. If you don’t keep that trail arm extended, you’ll miss the ball. This feeling is the same one In Gee had all day in round one.
Once you make contact a couple of times successfully, place both hands back on the club. Maintain that feeling and hit a couple off the turf with the same club. You should feel much more extension through impact. In doing this, you will create a better hit on the ball. A solid strike that sends the ball further and keeps it online more often. The one arm drill really causes us to turn our shoulders and support the arm holding the club. It effectively engages our bigger muscles in the swing.
Coming back the next day and going low twice in a major is very difficult. Keep an eye on In Gee’s arms tomorrow afternoon. Watch Nelly, Lexi and Minjee too. Come up with a strong mental image of the arms getting longer in your golf swing. Take that thought to the course and soon you’ll be blitzing the field like In Gee.