Be sure to look out for 'Supermodel' Seo

Hee Kyung Seo sinks a birdie putt on the 14th hole during the final round of the Kia Classic.

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Last Thursday at the Kia Classic, I stood behind the ninth green at La Costa chatting with the LPGA’s Sean Pyun. As the manager of international development and member services for the tour, Pyun has the inside track on players in Asia, particularly in Korea. He asked what I knew about Hee Kyung Seo, and I admitted very little. Pyun suggested I meet up with Seo at the Kraft because this was a face I needed to know.

I left La Costa on Saturday morning to go skiing for a few days (tough, I know) and missed Seo’s big win. The KLPGA player didn’t get the press she deserved in the U.S. because of Michelle Wie’s rules mishap, but I couldn’t help but think of my conversation with Pyun.

Seo, who is known in Korea as the “Supermodel of the Fairways,” shot even par to open the Kraft Nabisco. Soon after signing her scorecard, she was surrounded by three Korean TV cameras trying to get the scoop.

She’s extremely pleasant to interview and has a good command of the English language. Her mother signed her up for English tutoring in elementary school, long before she took up golf. She also has had an American instructor, Douglas Koh, back home in Korea for the past five years.

Seo, who has 11 wins on the KLPGA, decided to put off LPGA membership until next year, choosing to finish the season in Korea. LPGA fans will see her compete in four more tournaments in 2010: U.S. Women’s Open, Evian Masters, British Open and LPGA Hana Bank Championship in Korea.

“I know how to trust myself,” Seo said of her improved play. “I think I’m not afraid to make mistakes.”

As for the “Supermodel” nickname, that comes more from Seo’s good looks than actual runway work. Last December, she modeled the Ping Collection (her sponsor) at a department store in Seoul, but that’s about the extent of her modeling career.

Seo does, however, have a keen interest in fashion and has picked up In Style, People, Elle and Cosmopolitan since she has been in the U.S.

“I always try to look for trends,” she said.

By the way, Pyun suggested today that I keep an eye on Korea’s So Yeon Ryu. Think I might listen.

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