U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN
Interview With 2015 U.S. Women's Open Champion In Gee Chun July 12, 2015 | Lancaster, Pa. By USGA

In Gee Chun emerged on Sunday to win the U.S. Women's Open by a stroke over fellow Korean Amy Yang. (USGA/Hunter Martin)

MIKE TROSTEL: It's my pleasure to introduce the 70th U.S. Women's Open Champion, In Gee Chun. In Gee shot rounds of 68, 70, 68, 66 for a 72-hole total of 8-under par, 272. That matches the 72-hole scoring record shared by Annika Sorenstam in 1996 and Juli Inkster in 1999. In Gee, 66 ties the second lowest final round score by a winner in Women's Open history. In Gee is the third youngest player to win the championship and the fourth player to win on her first attempt. I'm also joined by Dr. Won Park, who will be doing some translating for us today. In gee, it's already your fifth win this year, three in Korea and one in Japan. But you've never won in the United States before. What are your expectations coming into this week?

IN GEE CHUN: This year at the beginning of the season I played four tournaments at LPGA. I had a great experience from those four tournaments and that has led to three wins in Korea and one major win in Japan. And with that, with all those four wins this year, I got a lot of confidence bringing into this tournament. And that's why I could enjoy every moment of the tournament.

MIKE TROSTEL: We certainly enjoyed watching you. You were voted the most popular by the fans in Korea, and your caddie said there could be thousands of people waiting for you at the airport. Your nickname is Dumbo, and you have a fan club, the Flying Dumbos, were any of them here this week to watch you play?

IN GEE CHUN: My name is Dumbo. Back in Korea my name was known as Dumbo after the first win, and everyone calls me Dumbo. When I came over here, some American fans recognized that nickname and called me Dumbo. And some even shouting it, let's go, Dumbo, that has made me really enjoy the game. Thanks everybody.

MIKE TROSTEL: To go a little bit to the round today, you were playing very nicely. Then on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes, you birdied all of them. 15th was playing the most difficult, but you made a birdie there. Can you talk about birdieing the 15th hole?

IN GEE CHUN: 15th hole to me was not a difficult hole, at all. Throughout the whole tournament I got birdie chances throughout the whole four rounds, and I made a birdie yesterday. So I try to stick to my game plan on the 15th hole and I made a birdie again.

MIKE TROSTEL: The 16th hole, the tee was moved up today. Had you practiced from the forward tee in practice rounds?

IN GEE CHUN: During the practice round, I tried to go for the green from the front tee box. And then once I saw the tee was moved up to the front today, I thought I should go for it, even if I end up into the bunker. Since I was very confident with the bunker shots, I went for it and it ended up into the bunker. And then, anyway, bunker shot is something I like, so finally I made a birdie again.

MIKE TROSTEL: Great birdie there. Then 17th hole, you led the field in greens in regulation for the week, 62 to 72. You hit a great shot right at the hole. Were you aiming for the hole or were you trying to play a little further out to the right?

IN GEE CHUN: The pin was short sided and I knew there was not much space. But I figured if I could make a throw shot a little bit, it would probably end up as a great opportunity. And all I did was try to feel the image of the shot and I just tried to react to the instinct I could have in my heart right then.

Q. We read in your bio that you were a math genius. Can you explain your academic history and what led you to be a golfer instead of an academician?
IN GEE CHUN: I really enjoyed studying and I was doing pretty well at school. But one day my father and my father's friend took me to a golf range and they asked me to hit some shots. And then I tried to swing the club but the result wasn't that good. Then my father and my father's friend teased me a little bit and I got fired up, and I felt I could do it. Then I decided to spend some time in golf, and I fell in love with golf like that.

Q. I understand when you lived in Korea your family did not have a lot of money and struggled a bit, and also made a lot of sacrifices for you to get here. What does this day mean for that whole journey?
IN GEE CHUN: Since I fell in love with golf, my parents tried everything not to make me feel any financial difficulties, not letting me know that, so that I could just enjoy the game. And then their support was great throughout my whole career. I realized later they must have had a hard time financially. After that, right at the moment, I met him, I met my coach and what I learned from my coach was enjoying the game, enjoying the golf game. So without thinking any negatively, all I could do was just enjoy the game. That's what has brought me to the U.S. Open win, I believe.

Q. If you could join the LPGA membership right now or wait until next year and claim LPGA membership, what are your plans? Do you plan to join the LPGA Tour?
IN GEE CHUN: I still don't realize that I won the Championship. And absolutely LPGA is my goal, but I'm still "nuts". I'll think about it real seriously tonight and maybe tomorrow with my parents and my coach and I'll let you know.

Q. What did your parents do for a living when you picked up golf? What part of Korea did you live in, a rural area?
IN GEE CHUN: When I started golf, my father was having his own business, while my mother was running a small restaurant. And then my father's business didn't go really well, and my mother got hurt with her leg so she had to quit her restaurant job. So both were jobless at the moment, they lost their jobs. And then my family was in trouble, kind of trouble, but I still made it today. I lived in a rural area.

Q. What's your earliest memory of watching the U.S. Women's Open on TV? Did it meet your expectations in terms of the atmosphere and the experience?
IN GEE CHUN: I think it was about ten years ago when Birdie Kim made the U.S. Open win by making a great bunker shot. That's when I saw the U.S. Open for the first time on TV.

Q. First of all, congratulations. It was a lot of fun watching you play and I think that everybody that was watching could tell that you were having a lot of fun. If I'm not mistaken, this is the first week that you and your caddie have worked together. So I'm wondering, you remained calm on the back nine the entire time. And I'm wondering what it is that you do internally to keep yourself that calm in a situation like that, when you have a new caddie, you've never been in this position before, but yet you still stay calm and you're having fun. How did you do that?
IN GEE CHUN: Everything I faced and I did here was completely new, including caddie. So caddie, the new caddie that I met is no exception to that, at all. So all I did was enjoy the new stuff, everything new. So I just tried to enjoy the new stuff and I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun. Even though I'm Korean, here American fans supported me a lot and they gave a lot of claps to good play. That has put me in the great rhythm of play, and I enjoyed that tournament rhythm.

Q. How do you think the USGA did in terms of setting the course up in a style so that it was fair for the players but still challenging?
IN GEE CHUN: As I heard, this was a U.S. Open setting. The course played very long. The rough was tough. But my shots were pretty good and I was pretty satisfied with my own shots all this week. So I didn't miss the fairways very much. That's why I could come up with a good score. But the course setting was such a wonderful one for a major.

Q. You are a big star in Korea where women's golf is a very big deal. How much did all the attention that you've received there in the last year or two help you cope in this major event?
IN GEE CHUN: Ever since I started golf, the fan support I've got in Korea was something that I could not have anything done with. So all those fans have led me up to this stage. So I really want to thank the fans and I love it.

Q. What were your first thoughts when you realized you'd just won the U.S. Women's Open? Was it more special to win on your first try?
IN GEE CHUN: This is my first time experience at the USGA tournament, and I got here a little early last week. I arrived here on Wednesday, and I enjoyed the whole residential area. And then at the time it was a meaningful timing for me to be here last week because it was July 4th and I learned about the history of America. All that was new and it was so interesting and I enjoyed so many interesting parts of this state. And finally I won it.

Q. How do you think things will change after this performance? Do you think you'll be recognized more by American fans?
IN GEE CHUN: Since I got here for the first time in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I met some people who recognized me, and then I felt really thrilled. It was an amazing feel and I enjoyed it a lot. After this win more people will probably recognize me, as you said, and that will be another driving force for me to enjoy the whole golf game.

Q. On No. 18, when you hit your ball in the rough, what did you use getting out of the rough and then what did you use for your third shot? And how were you thinking about the strategy?
IN GEE CHUN: When I saw my ball in the rough, it was completely buried and I couldn't see the ball. And from there I probably wanted to have my ball laid up. But at 80 meters from the pin, that's my favorite place to hit the pin. But it was really tough to lay it up that much. So all I could do was try to keep the ball in the fairway and then go from there.

MIKE TROSTEL: In Gee Chun, 8-under par, 272, a one-stroke victory over Amy Yang, and you're the 70th U.S. Women's Open champion. Congratulations.

IN GEE CHUN: Thank you very much.