After triumphing in her national championship for the first time in her career, So Yeon Ryu once again did something remarkable: She pledged to donate her entire winner's check from the 2020 Kia Motors Korea Women's Open to charities providing COVID-19 relief in her homeland.
Ryu won by a shot over Hyo Joo Kim, firing an even-par final round of 72, to take the tournament, which is considered a major championship on the Korean LPGA.
“I’ve always wanted to win the national championship of my country,” Ryu said, according to the Yonhap News Agency.
With the victory, Ryu earned the ￦250,000,000 ($207,500) winner's share of the ￦1,000,000,000 ($830,000) purse. The 29-year-old is donating all of it.
This isn't the first time Ryu has donated substantial prize money to charity after a tournament.
When she won the LPGA's Meijer Classic in 2018, Ryu donated $100,000 of her $300,000 winner's check to Simply Give, the grocer's food pantry program. Earlier this year, she donated her whole second-place check from the ISPS Handa Vic Open to charities providing relief from the Australian brushfires.
“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.”
Ryu won in her first start since last playing in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in February.