Golf News

Jenny Bae set for LPGA debut after meeting with Juli Inkster

Jenny Bae set for LPGA debut after meeting with Juli Inkster

It’s not like the ring of her phone came as a total surprise; Jenny Bae was tipped off in advance. Her coach at the University of Georgia mentioned to the senior star that a call from seven-time major champion Juli Inkster could be coming and she should be prepared.

Bae had a record-setting 2022-23 season, finishing in the top five on eight different occasions, and Bulldogs coach Josh Brewer hinted that something special could be in the works.

“He said make sure you keep the phone on, and you’re wide awake. You’re going to get one of the biggest important phone calls of your entire life tomorrow morning at 9,” Bae recalled. “I was like, oh, okay. So I was freaking out the entire night. Woke up super early. Just couldn’t sleep. I got the phone call and she says, ‘Hi, I’m Juli Inkster,’ and she announced the award and I think I was quiet for about 30 seconds or so.”

Bae had been selected as the 2023 recipient of the Inkster Award presented by Workday, an honor that recognizes the highest-ranked women’s Division I collegiate golfer in her final year of eligibility for the 2022-23 college golf season. A fifth-year senior, she finished the season as the fifth-ranked women’s college golfer in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and fourth in the Golfstat rankings.

But for all her accomplishments, Bae’s phone etiquette went out the window when Hall of Famer Inkster was on the other end of the line. On Wednesday, in advance of the LPGA’s Portland Classic, the award’s namesake wondered if she’d even properly connected with the rising star.

“I was like, are you there?” Inkster said.

“I was so in shock,” Bae added. “I was like, is this really Juli Inkster on the phone with me right now telling me I just got the biggest award of the year? I was super excited, super pumped. After our phone call, I called my coach, my parents, guess what just happened and who just called me. That day, I can say, is one of my best mornings I’ve ever had in my life.”

The honor was well-deserved for Bae, who captured titles at the Illini Invitational and the Athens Regional, where she posted the two lowest scores in Georgia history. She compiled a 70.75 season stroke average, the lowest single-season stroke average in Georgia history. She also finished runner-up at the 2023 Augusta National Women’s Amateur, falling to Rose Zhang on the second playoff hole.

As a result of winning the award, she received an exemption for this week’s event,…


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