MJ Hur

MJ Hur won the 2014 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, her first LPGA win in five years. And she did it with a tournament record score of 21-under.

Hur has always looked like one of those golfers just on the verge of breaking out, and perhaps this victory will do it for her. (The MJ, by the way, is short for Mi Jung.)

Hur first made her mark when she got into the 2006 Hana Bank-Kolon Championship in her native Korea and finished sixth. After that, her father sold his sporting goods store and moved the family to America so that Hur could pursue the LPGA Tour via the Futures Tour. She won on the Futures Tour in 2007, then returned in 2008 and finished fourth on the money list. And that moved her up to the LPGA Tour in 2009.

And in that rookie season, Hur first won at the Safeway Classic.

She hadn't won since, however, until the Yokohama. There were signs it was coming, though: She finished ninth at the Portland Classic two starts prior; and was third at her previous start, the major Evian Championship.

MJ is still only 24 years old.

Demi Runas Plays Her Way Onto LPGA Tour at Symetra Finale

As the season-ending Symetra Tour Championship began, Demi Runas sat 15th on the tour's money list. Problem: Only the Top 10 finishers in the "Race to the Card" earn LPGA Tour status for 2015.

Runas needed to finish in the Top 5 in the Tour Championship in order to jump into the Top 10 on the money list. And after three rounds, she was only in 21st place in the tournament.

Problem? Turns out, it was no problem! Runas played the round of her life in the final round of the Symetra Tour Championship, carding a 65 that included birdies on the two final holes. That jumped her all the way up into a tie for first. She went into a playoff against Jackie Stoelting and Marita Engzelius.

A storybook ending would have had Runas winning the tournament to secure her LPGA card. But this is life, not a storybook, and Engzelius won the playoff. But something tells me Runas isn't beating herself up too bad over that missed opportunity at a victory.

By finishing second in the Symetra Tour Championship, she jumped up to ninth place on the tour money list. And that means she'll be making the jump to the LPGA Tour in 2015. What a way to finish off your rookie season as a pro.

Demi is an American who played her college golf at Cal-Davis. She won four NCAA tournaments while there, won the Big West Conference Player of the Year award three straight seasons (2011-13), and was second-team All-America as a senior. She also won the Arizona Women's Open while still in college, and recorded victories on the Cactus Tour and Suncoast Series in 2013.

On the Symetra Tour in 2014, Demi had two runner-up finishes (including at the Tour Championship), a pair of third-place finishes and a fifth-place showing.

Welcome to the LPGA, Demi Runas.

Paula Reto

The second-round leader the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic might be an unfamiliar name (at this point) even to LPGA fans. So let's introduce Paula Reto.

Reto shot 65-66 the first two rounds of the Yokohama, the tour's Alabama stop, and held a 3-stroke lead at that point. We don't know how she'll finish, but she's made an impression.

The 2014 season is Reto's rookie year on the LPGA, and entering the Alabama event she had played 17 tournaments and stood 105th on the money list. She was 316th in the world rankings at that point.

Reto got off to a rough start in 2014, missing 10 of her first 12 cuts. But since that time Paula has made some money, including a season-best tie for 9th at the Portland Classic, her last event before the Yokohama.

She's a native of Capetown, South Africa, who played NCAA golf at Purdue University. She was a 3-time All-Big 10 Conference selection and, as a senior in 2013, led the conference in scoring average and earned All-America honors. Pretty impressive given that she didn't take up golf until age 16.

Paula turned pro in June 2013 and headed to the Symetra Tour, where her best finish was a third-place showing in the Symetra Tour Championship. She earned LPGA status by placing 13th at Q-School.

What's her game like? Looking at her LPGA season stats, she appears to be a player who combines two pretty good qualities: Distance off the tee and putting. At the time of the Yokohama event, Reto was seventh in driving distance and eighth in putting average. But her weaknesses are easy to spot, too: She was 144th in driving accuracy and 146th in greens in regulation.

On Twitter, you can find Paula Reto at @paularetoSA.

Caite Upton and Back9Network's 'Off Par'

We wrote earlier about Back9Network's The Turn and its co-host, Erica Bachelor. Let's turn now to another of the shows that will debut when Back9Network makes the leap from online content to television network: Off Par, co-hosted by Caite Upton.

First, a reminder about what Back9Network is up to: The network has existed for a couple years as an online content destination, with plans to grow into a television network. That time arrives on Sept. 29, 2014, when Back9 debuts on the DirecTV platform. The network plans to expand to other cable providers in the future, as new deals can be struck.

How will Back9Network differ from the Golf Channel? Focus. While Back9 will provide golf news, that's not its focus; golf lifestyle is. Says Senior VP of Programming Scot Thor: "While we will certainly pay attention to professional golf's leaderboard, our coverage will focus on the lifestyle of the game where golf enthusiasts are spending their time and money - the courses and resorts they can play, the latest fashion, gadgets and equipment, and the behind-the-scenes stories that will highlight the personalities and characters that make golf so much fun."

Off Par is described as "an inventive look at the world of golf and entertainment, with a comedic twist." The co-hosts are comedian/actor Matty Blake and model Caite Upton. Off Par will air in the 8 p.m. (Eastern) timeslot on weeknights, with its hosts and a "rotating cast of characters" having fun with "viral internet videos, user-generated social media content, golf-themed skits and guest appearances by other comedians."

Upton was Miss South Carolina Teen USA in 2007, and in 2010 she was a contestant on the 16th season of the popular ABC reality series Amazing Race. Her full name is Lauren Caitlin Upton, but professionally she goes by Caite Upton. (Perhaps Caite Upton can welcome Kate Upton onto Off Par someday!)

At the 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant, Caite had an infamous meltdown trying to respond to a question about geography from one of the judges (why do they try to ask "serious" questions at beauty pageants?). It was an embarrassing episode, but to her great credit Upton never ran from it. On her Facebook page today, she describes herself this way: "I'm a Model/Host/Actress, former Miss South Carolina Teen USA (Yes, I'm THAT girl) AND Amazing Race finalist!"

Good luck to Caite and the rest of the Back9 talent as they prepare for lift-off.

Erica Bachelor, Co-Host of Back9Network's Flagship Show

Did you know that a new golf television network is about to launch? The Back9Network has actually been around a couple years as a web presence, offering written and video content while working toward launching as a full-fledged television network.

That launch is now scheduled for Sept. 29, 2014, when Back9Network goes live on DirecTV (the network is pursuing additional distribution and should expand to other cable systems over time). Back9Network doesn't think of itself as a golf-news network along the lines of Golf Channel; while Back9 will report on tournament results and will offer news segments, the focus of the new network is on golf lifestyle.

And one of the early stars of the network is likely to be Erica Bachelor, who will co-host, with Shane Bacon, what Back9 calls its flagship show, The Turn. The Turn, which will air daily at noon and 7 p.m. (Eastern), "will tackle the industry's biggest topics by blending news, analysis and user-generated content with behind-the-scenes perspectives from the game's most colorful icons and personalities," Back9Network says.

Bacon is a well-known blogger and writer, having worked for Yahoo! Sports and CBS Sports, and ... wait - enough about him, this ain't Golf Dudes!

Erica Bachelor's website describes her as "actress, producer and event planner." She has produced billiards broadcasts that aired on ESPN and worked with former Cowboys and Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson. But if you've seen her before, it's probably when she was hosting E! News Now on the E! Network - although it could have been in an acting role or TV commercial.

Erica is a Southern girl, born in Kentucky and raised in Missouri and Florida. She majored in journalism and advertising at Pepperdine University.

It will be interesting to watch whether Back9Network can grow and carve out another spot on the TV dial for a golf-themed network. Hopefully they'll succeed. One thing's for sure: the predominantly male golf audience should enjoy watching Erica.

Watch Christy Yun's 'Hot' Tip

A few days ago we told you about the Golf Digest video series called "The Sexiest Shots in Golf," and which features Anna Rawson and Blair O'Neal. Today, let's take a look at Golf magazine's own video series called "Hot Tip from a Hot Golfer."

The folks at Golf.com have been posting these videos for several months now, both on Golf.com and also on YouTube. And one of the hot golfers providing Golf.com's hot tips is Christy Yun. Here is Christy with a putting tip:

One thing you'll learn very quickly about Christy is that she loves a good hat.

Christy is a great choice for this series, for both the obvious reasons (Golf.com has also featured her in its Most Beautiful Women in Golf slideshows) and for this: She's a real, live golf instructor. She's a tournament player, too, a tour pro. Yun has won the Washington state championship and played collegiately at Columbia University. After turning pro she gained status on the Symetra Tour.

But lately she's focused more on building a career as a teaching professional. She's based in the greater Dallas area - Christy is a pro at Gleaneagles Country Club in Plano - but she also travels for clinics around the country. So keep an eye out for Christy Yun in your neighborhood, and watch for more video tips.