US Women's Open Golf: Na Yeon Choi's Performance Is Long Overdue

Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIJuly 8, 2012

KOHLER, WI - JULY 08:  Na Yeon Choi hits her second shot on the 3rd hole during the final round of the 2012 U.S. Women's Open on July 8, 2012 at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

South Korea's Na Yeon Choi dominated the 2012 U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin.

The 24-year-old has been the story of the weekend, posting a 65 on Saturday to catapult herself to the top of the field. She currently sits at six-under, three strokes ahead of her fellow countrywoman Amy Yang.

Choi's brilliance throughout the tournament shouldn't come as a surprise to LPGA fans because it is long overdue. We haven't seen a performance like this out of her, but we certainly should have given the accolades she has compiled since turning pro in 2004.

At the age of just 21, she broke into the LPGA Tour after four years of playing professionally on the Korean Tour.

In her first season in 2008, Choi finished 11th on the money list, earning over $1 million throughout the year. She consistently placed near the top of the field to the tune of nine top-10 finishes over the course of 27 tournaments. The most impressive feat of her rookie campaign was that she placed second in the LPGA Rookie of the Year race behind now-No. 1 women's golfer Yani Tseng.

Choi's success spilled into her sophomore year, in which she won two events on Tour. In 2010, she finished on top of the money list and was able to win the Vare Trophy, which is awarded to the leading scorer.

She's been able to come up big in major tournaments, but never as big as she did in this year's U.S. Open. 

In 2008, she tied for sixth in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. In 2009, Choi finished in eighth place at the LPGA Championship. She followed up a second-place finish at the 2010 U.S. Women's Open by finishing third in the Women's British Open.

There weren't any questions regarding her talent or ability, but it remained to be seen whether she could put it all together at the right time to win a major tournament.

Her third-round score of 65 was the best single-round tally in the entire tournament and gave her the momentum she needed after putting up a Round 1 score of 71 and a Round 2 score of 72.

She is one of only two players under par, yet another testament to her great play since Thursday, but her work is not done yet. Not many women on the LPGA Tour can say that they have finished in the top-10 at every major championship, but Choi can.

If she wants to join the select few who have won a major championship, she'll need to be as good as ever on the back nine on Sunday.