An outstanding year has paid off Doey Choi who has reached Golf Australia benchmark athlete status.
Sydneysider Choi has had a wealth of experiences this year, including finishing second on the recently concluded 2018 GA Order of Merit, with three wins and four other top-three finishes in national rankings events.
She was also the anchor of the dominant New South Wales women's team that triumphed at the Interstate Series in Adelaide and recently announced as the Golf NSW female athlete of the year.
But it's her work outside those "normal" bounds of the Australian amateur circuit that has enabled Choi, a member at Concord, to reach tier two benchmark status.
Choi was second in the IMG Academy Junior World Championships in San Diego and was a quarter-finalist at the US Girls' Junior Amateur near Pebble Beach on the same trip.
She also finished tied 24th in the ALPG Tour's tier one Australian Ladies Classic in Bonville, enabling her to satisfy the criteria.
During that week, Choi played alongside one of her heroes, LPGA Tour star Christina Kim, then followed that experience up with a couple of rounds with legendary Laura Davies at the NSW Women's Open.
"It has been an amazing year. Now that I've finished high school, I've been able to focus on my golf a lot more and hopefully it's showing," Choi said.
"This is something I've been working towards because I grew up watching Minjee Lee and Su Oh achieve these things and I really want to follow in their footsteps.
"It will really allow me to put a better plan in place for tournaments overseas and to just make sure I get things how I want them to be. I'm really grateful."
The benchmark athlete status enables extra benefits for Choi over and above existing support through Golf NSW.
Among a range of additional benefits, she will get a stipend for travel to international tournaments, more funding towards coaching fees and sports science expenses and a subsidy towards playing professional events.
Golf Australia high performance director Brad James was excited with Choi's progress and to be able to help her future development.
"Along with all other high performance squad members in the state programs around Australia, Doey already receives funding and other `home-base' support," James said.
"In this instance, her benchmark status is additional backing on top of that provided by the Golf NSW program.
"She's had a massive learning year and we are excited to see Doey take the next step in her career."