By Peter Gonzaga
An overcast Monday morning with a slight drizzle did not stop celebrity pro golfers and amateur players from coming together at Pechanga Resort and Casino’s Journeys Golf Course for the 7th Annual KoreAm Pro-Am Golf Tournament. The tourney paired 22 Korean and Korean American LPGA players with amateur golfers in a scramble format tournament.
Celebrity golfers included World Golf Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak and PGA Pro Charlie Wi. Pak said this was her first time at to play at the Pechanga course and couldn’t wait to get on the green play.
Golfer Vicky Hurst, member of winning U.S. Olympic team and 5-time winner on the LPGA Tour, told Pacific Rim Video correspondent Chris Trondsen that this was her fourth or fifth time. “It’s such a fun a event, I’ve forgotten if it’s my fourth or fifth time participating and coming together with other players like me.”
Danielle Kang known qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open as a 14-year-old in 2007 was also excited to join in the fun at the tournament. “We know each other so its fun to come together for a tournament like this.” Asked if she enjoyed the pairings party the night before, Kang said, “Oh yeah. I wanted to do Karaoke but when that guy from American Idol came up to do Karaoke, I wasn’t about to go up after that.” This reporter jokingly asked, “Do you know who Hee Jan Han is.”
“Oh my gosh. I didn’t know who he was at first until someone told me,” said Danielle. At she said she knew who Sung Kang was, but felt bad to admit that she hadn’t watch any of the “Fast and The Furious” films. Honing on her golf skills keeps her from watching a lot of television and movies.
Winning the tournament was Team Pechanga #2, led by 2005 U.S. Women’s Open winner Birdie Kim, won the tournament.
Quoted by KoreAm Journal, “This was the first Pro-Am tournament I’ve won since turning pro 13 years ago,” Kim said. “It feels great. This tournament means a lot to the Korean American community. I’ve been here for the past three years, and every year, it seems to be getting bigger and better.”
“It’s also an opportunity for Korean Americans from different cultural backgrounds to get together, and build an understanding with each other.”
Team Pechanga #2 was given a $5,000 check presented by KoreAm Journal which will be donated to the LPGA Foundation.