Nov
15
2010
In-Kyung Kim Wins Lorena Ochoa Invitational, to Donate Earnings to Charity
By Stephanie Wei under LPGA

In-Kyung Kim and her caddie: double-fist pump!

In-Kyung Kim closed with an eight-under 64 to come from behind and capture the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico, for her third career LPGA victory. Kim was on fire on Sunday, carding 6-under 30 on the front nine. She finished the day with three more birdies and a bogey to finish at 19-under, setting a tournament record. She bested Suzann Pettersen, the 54-hole leader and seemingly perennial bridesmaid (or Lee Westwood of the LPGA), by three strokes.

In an act of good will, Kim will donate her $220,000 first place earnings to charity, half to the Lorena Ochoa Foundation and the other half to an American organization yet to be determined.

“Before I came to the U.S., I wanted to come to the U.S., but I know it’s tough and my parents are working really hard at the time when I was 16,” Kim said. “And we weren’t really rich, but it takes a lot of money to send me to the U.S. and go to school and all that. But there is one person who helped my parents, and if he didn’t help my parents, or if he didn’t help me coming to the U.S., I wouldn’t really be here. Everyone needs help. I think that’s why I’m all about that.”

Lorena Ochoa, who was playing in her first tournament since retiring in April, finished 25th, and has always emphasized the importance she puts on charity and her foundation. Perhaps Kim’s generous gesture was also inspired by Ochoa.

“She’s just down to earth,” Kim said. “She is always there. She is not just a great golfer. She has great warm heart. So that’s why she’s my idol. I don’t have many idols. I want you to know that.”

Oh, here’s some food for thought — I was struck by IK’s generosity and wondered why PGA Tour players haven’t done that this year. Now I know many PGA Tour guys have their foundations and give back to charity, but did any donate their entire purse? IK’s $220,000 first prize is 1/4 or 1/5 of the winner’s purse on the men’s side. Take Robert Garrigus’s $846,00, for instance. It would have been nice to see one of the guys step up and give back selflessly (read: not a tax write-off or PR move) instead of blowing their earnings on another fancy car or private jet or garish mansion.

(AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)