PARIS: Former world number one Ryu So-yeon hung on for a one-shot victory on the Korean tour on Sunday (Jun 21) and then donated her entire purse of over US$200,000 to coronavirus charities.
Ryu, who makes a habit of donating her winnings to charity, shot a par 72 in the final round of the Korean Open to hold off Kim Hyo-joo, then announced she was giving away her 250 million won (US$206,270) winnings.
“I thought of donating since last night,” 29-year-old Ryu said, according to local media.
“Before the awards ceremony, I called my mom. I told her that I’m going to make the announcement so don’t get too surprised. She was just as happy I was.
“Since this tournament has a lot of meaning to me and I thought that I may be able to play better if I had a positive goal, I came up with it last night.”
Ryu, a two-time major winner, had not played since February 16 when she finished tied for 34th in the Australian Open, the last event before the LPGA Tour was shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.
“All the competitions KLPGA golfers are currently playing are like a bonus for us,” the Korean LPGA quoted her as saying in an Instagram post.
“We only have to come and hit the ball, but a lot of people are continuing to struggle. This donation is going towards funding COVID-19 recovery.”
Ryu has donated prize money to good causes before.
After her last victory in the United States, at the Meijer Classic in 2018, she gave US$100,000, one third of her first-place cheque, to a food programme run by the tournament’s title sponsor, a supermarket chain.
Earlier this year, she donated half the money she made at the Vic Open to help those who suffered as a result of the Australian bushfires.
She finished second and the gift was more than US$45,000.
On Sunday, the LPGA, which plans to resume in Ohio at the end of July, tweeted its congratulations to Ryu.
On Instagram, Ryu thanked, among others, her caddy, a local university student. Caddies normally can expect a percentage of a golfer’s tournament winnings.