Lehigh senior Aileen Jeong hits a drive from the fairway during practice. Jeong finished her career in 18th place in the Patriot League tournament. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Aileen Jeong drives her last golf season home

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Senior Aileen Jeong came to Lehigh and established herself as an important part of the women’s golf team from her first stroke. In 2016, she took the titles of Patriot League Rookie of the Year and First Team All-Patriot League.

Since then, Jeong has lived up to expectations and improved her game. Jeong went into the 2019 Patriot League Championship at the No. 2 position during her final season.

“I’ve definitely gotten to a confident place mentally,” Jeong said. “I feel good about all my swing mechanics, and I’ve actually been pretty consistent with my scores this season. So, that’s been really nice to have. My errors aren’t as big as they used to be.”

The two-day tournament started on April 20 in Richmond, Virginia.

Jeong started the first day with two birdies and sat at 23rd overall, shooting an 86. 

Jeong said prior to the championships, she was anticipating the mistakes she could potentially make on the course and figuring out how she would prevent them. She said she’s also wanted to make sure that her skills are sharpened and ready for match play.

“Within 100 yards, that’s where most of your shots are going to come from,” Jeong said. “So that determines if you’re are a really good player or not.”

Coach Mary Kate Lynch said as Jeong continues with her Patriot League play, it is important for her to look at it as any other tournament and not add extra pressure. Lynch said she encourages Jeong to make sure that she “stays in the moment.”

Jeong finished the Patriot League tournament on April 21. She made three birdies during the final portion of the tournament, finishing with a score of 237 and in 18th place. Lehigh finished fourth overall with a team score of 927 (308-323-296).

Over the course of the season, Jeong has established herself as a crucial part of the team as she shot the lowest team score at the Hoya Invitational on April 8 and 9 and tied for the second-lowest team score at the Navy Invitational on April 13 and 14.

“She has grown throughout the year,” said Billy Johns, the golf team’s graduate assistant. “Her better moments have been presenting themselves more frequently as the year progressed. To me, that’s an indicator that she’s doing great.”

Johns said Jeong has been having good ball control and ball striking lately, which is providing her with numerous opportunities for low scores.

Lynch commended Jeong’s ability to stay focused and not get distracted when she plays.

“She really gets in the zone,” Lynch said.

Johns said she sets a good example for not only playing, but reading the courses. He said she has been a great example for younger golfers because she puts in the work she needs day-in and day-out.

Looking back on the season, Jeong said one of her favorite memories was traveling with the team. She said it’s a nice change of pace from the usual courses it plays, and to see the new courses was exciting.

“All the courses we’ve played this season have been really amazing,” Jeong said.

She said she enjoyed the course in Kiawah Island, South Carolina the most. The team also traveled to Utah, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia this season.

Another favorite part of her final season was spending time with her teammates, and she has enjoyed the company of her team since freshman year.

“Being from the west coast, my first year here was really lonely just because I didn’t know anyone around here,” Jeong said. “But knowing that I would have my team from the beginning was really good for me.”

Jeong said when she graduates from Lehigh, she will take a small break from playing golf, but said if she’s able to qualify for some events that she’ll be excited and ready to play once more.

“I know she’s going to be super successful in the future,” Lynch said. “But she should always know that she’ll have her family back here at Lehigh.”

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