CALIFORNIA: South Korea’s newest star Lee Kyoung-hoon hopes to emulate Hideki Matsuyama's major success in the near future.
And he wants to showcase that determination in his third US Open at Torrey Pines starting on Thursday.
The 29-year-old knows only too well that he needs to keep living the mantra of “the harder you practice, the luckier you get” coined by South African legend Gary Player if he is to emulate Matsuyama’s trail-blazing path.
Two months ago, Matsuyama, who is six months younger than Kyoung-hoon, triumphed at the Masters Tournament to become only the second Asian major winner.
Seeing a fellow Asian rewrite golf history has served as added motivation for , who first met Matsuyama when the Japanese ace won the 2010 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. Kyoung-hoon finishing tied fourth and 11 shots back in the event.
“I was very impressed with how Hideki won the Masters. I was very happy as we have played with each other since our amateur days and I have gotten to know him," he said.
"He is very humble and he practices a lot. He is a hard worker and his win has motivated me and other Asian golfers. I think maybe next time, I will win a major. It was nice to see him do it."
Kyoung-hoon is also renowned for spending between 12 to 15 hours a day at the range back home to sharpen his game where the hard work finally paid off with his first professional PGA Tour victory at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May.
Naturally, he hungers for more success.
He had qualified for the US Open in 2014 and 2019 but missed the cut on both occasions. His other major appearance came at last month’s PGA Championship which was also short week, thus prompting him to alter his preparation ahead of this week.
“I’m very excited about the week. Previously, I have prepared for majors the same way but since I have now played in a few more, I don’t think my preparation can be like usual. The golf course is very different, and course strategy will be different. It is crucial to know the course and prepare more than before,” he said.