Korea’s K.H. Lee emerged from the shadows of his more illustrious compatriots such as Sungjae Im, Si Woo Kim, Byeong Hun An and Sung Kang following his tied second finish at the Waste Management Phoenix Open two weeks ago. Lee finished one shot behind winner Brooks Koepka to secure his career best outing on the PGA TOUR. Here are nine things you may not have known about the 29-year-old Lee.
1. Lee took up the game of golf as a 13-year-old to lose weight. He was a robust kid, pushing over 200 pounds. He says he hit 212 pounds as a 16-year-old. He now weighs around 175 pounds.
2. When his first full swing flew 250 yards, he was hooked to golf. “First time make my full swing and I see the ball, it’s a long time hanging in the air, I thought… that’s awesome,” he said. During his youth, Lee was also an accomplished shot put athlete. While not nationally ranked, he was the second best for his age group in his region.
3. Lee loves to sing karaoke – although he says big crowds in front of the microphone make him nervous. He met Psy at a concert in Seoul and fancies himself pretty well at the Korean star’s “Gangnam Style”. If not a professional golfer, he said he would have been a singer.
4. Has a great sense of humour. At the 2018 WinCo Foods Portland Open, he said, “Several goals in my life. First is to become the No. 1 golfer in the world. The second is to become the No. 1 sexiest golfer in the world!”
5. Hired a trainer in June 2019 after being impressed by Brooks Koepka’s physique and power. Interestingly, he finished second behind Koepka at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Prior to that, his best was a T3 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with Matt Every, who he invited to play with him at the suggestion of his caddy.
6. He says he literally dreams about winning on the PGA TOUR often. “Almost every night I dream of this,” he said. “It would be amazing.” He regularly spends entire days, sometimes 12-15 hours playing or practicing.
7. Since making his TOUR debut in 2019, Lee has qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs twice. From 70 career starts to date, he has four top-10s, 11 top-25s and has earned over US$2.6 million in prize money.
8. He started a junior golf tournament in Seoul, titled the Lee Kyoung Hoon Junior Golf Tournament. Held every April/May. Lee grew up playing junior golf tournaments in Seoul and wanted to give back to the game.
9. Lee is ranked outside the top-100 in all major statistics this season except Strokes Gained: Around the Green (27th). Outside of the U.S., he won the Korean Open twice in 2015 and 2016 and has two other victories on the Japan Golf Tour. His amateur career highlight was winning the team gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games.