Lee Myung-ha (66) won 5 wins as a player in the history of Korean Professional Golf (KPGA) and served as the president of the tour association for 4 months.
He learned to play golf at the age of nine thanks to his father, who ran the Namsan golf driving range next to the Pacific Hotel in the 1960s. He also served as a golfer at Taereung Golf Course in Yuksa in the military. Thanks to learning golf at a young age, he passed the professional test in 1982 without difficulty. He has member number 86 (TP 1982-0086).
In his rookie year of 1983, he placed 11th at the first tournament, the Maekyung Open, followed by 4th at the Oran Sea Open, and won the 3rd Shinhan Donghae Open held at Daegu Country Club (CC) from June 30th. On the final day, he shot a 2-under-par 70 for a total of 3-under-par 285, and was the youngest champion at the age of 25. He was wearing a white jacket as he received the trophy from Lee Hee-gun.
In <KPGA 40 Years History>, he recalled as follows. “On the last day, I was trailing Prof. Kim Seok-bong by one point, but I tied with a birdie on the 16th hole. The 17th was an uphill hole, but my second shot hit it pretty well and I put in a 7-metre birdie putt to take the lead. On the last hole, I thought I would keep par and won by one stroke.”
Two months later, when he posted two wins at the Kwaenam Open held in September, newspapers and magazines published the title, ‘Lee Myung-ha’s Opening Era’. I looked up to the prize money king in the rookie year. However, Choi Sang-ho won the major Korea Open and finished second in prize money.
On May 25, 1984, the second year of the tour, he started the final round with a tie with Choi Sang-ho, who was aiming for a fourth consecutive victory at the Oran Sea Open held at Namseoul CC. Lee Myung-ha, a fearsome newcomer, continued the game until overtime, then made a birdie on the first hole and won his third win. It was a big event to beat Choi Sang-ho, who was the best player of the time.
Since the number of competitions in Korea was less than 10, the players took part in overseas stages such as the Asian circuit. However, only about 10 students, in order of grades, toured around 10 Asian countries from February to April. Then, with the Maekyung Open, it came to Korea.
In 1985, at the 3rd Busan (Phantom) Open held at Gyeongju Chosun CC, he won after a close match with the 1st tournament champion Jo Ho-sang to the second hole, and again a white jacket wore The distance was not long, but the short game was excellent. That’s why he was nicknamed ‘The Master of Approach’ and ‘The No. 1 Trouble Shot’. He would stick the ball wherever he wanted within 100 yards.
At the end of June 1988, right before the opening of the Seoul Olympics, at the Phantom Open held at Tongdo CC in Yangsan, he won again after three years. His younger siblings (Lee Myung-nam and Lee Myung-cheol) are also tour pros, so the whole family went to the summer resort and competitions to cheer them on, and they flew wildly. On the last day, he set a course record of 6 under par 66, and was 8 strokes away from the second place.
After a breathless 5 wins, the momentum waned. From ’89 he had to suffer from golf elbow. He did not seek any more championships, and in 1995, the 14th year of his tour life, he quit his active career and switched to teaching pros. After training as a junior player, he turned 50 in 2007 and moved to a senior tour event. However, he did not have a chance to win on the Champions Tour.
For 8 years from 2004 to 2011, Asiana Group Chairman Park Sam-koo served as the president of the KPGA. In the meantime, Lee Myung-ha was elected as the 14th chairman with a pledge to ‘resign with the prestigious entrepreneur Ryu Jin, chairman of Poongsan.’ 스포츠토토
However, despite serving as the KPGA president for four months, he failed to recruit a new president contrary to his promise and failed to organize the organization. While he was president, he was criticized for actions such as taking a player he taught to Vietnam for an overseas trip. Afterwards, he resigned after being pushed by Im Jin-han’s insistence that he would ‘serve the director of audit and inspection, Jeon Yun-cheol’.
During the period leading up to the golf season, the association failed to schedule a tour until March, and as a result of internal conflict, the Korea Women’s Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) began to lose prize money and the number of tournaments.
Until 2011, the KPGA was ahead of the KLPGA in terms of prize money and size, but the chaos of 2012 changed the landscape of the men’s and women’s tours and continues to this day. He made achievements as a player, but was disappointing as a manager.