So Yeon Ryu may be from South Korea, but she considers Australia a second homeland.
On Sunday at the ISPS Handa Vic Open, Ryu nearly found herself the victor in the Land Down Under. Ryu wound up finishing runner-up after bowing out in a three-player playoff at 13th Beach Golf Club, with Hee Young Park emerging as the winner for her first LPGA win in nearly seven years.
Ryu announced she would donate half of her prize money from the ISPS Handa Vic Open and ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open to support relief from the brushfires ravaging Australia.
She earned $90,049 in tying for second place.
“I feel like even though I’m Korean and even though I spent a lot of time in America, I feel like Australia’s like my second home,” Ryu said. “I have a lot of Australian staff; my coach is Australian, my physio’s Australian and I’m surrounded by a lot of Aussies. I came to Australia quite a lot to do winter training since I was 18. I love Australia, you know, food, wine, coffee, but most importantly people are so nice.”
Giving back has been something Ryu has done in the past. After she won the Meijer LPGA Classic in 2018, Ryu donated $100,000 from her $300,000 winner's check back to Meijer's Simply Give food pantry program.
“On Pro-am day, I was joined with the CEO of Meijer and had a chance to learn more about the Simply Give program,” Ryu said at the time. “I decided to donate to the program if I win this tournament, and that became my motivation. I am very happy that I could keep the promise to myself.”