In Gee Chun’s remarkable relationship with Lancaster continues.
The 2015 U.S. Women’s Open champion was back at Lancaster Country Club Wednesday, the course where she won the Open and became a celebrity four years ago.
This time it was to announce a personal donation of $30,000 to the Lancaster Country Club/In Gee Chun Education Foundation.
In Gee Chun, a U.S. Women’s Open rookie and member of the Korea LPGA Tour, shot a 66 Sunday …
“I have great memories from here,’’ she said. “I want to give back to this place. It always gives me positive energy.’’
The Foundation will fund education opportunities for Lancaster Country Club caddies, and club employees and their families.
“This is a genuine person, who really wants to make the world a better place,’’ said Garth Sprecher, the foundation’s president. “We were very lucky she found us.’’
Chun played the course Wednesday with donors and will do it again Thursday. There was an informal reception Wednesday and a dinner Thursday, at which further donations are expected to be announced.
Chun’s triumph here in ‘15, in her first event in America, made her a superstar in her native Korea. She joined the LPGA tour the following season, won the Evian Championship with the lowest 72-hole score to par (-21) ever shot in a major championship, was named Rookie of the Year and won the Vare Trophy for lowest stroke average.
Dumbo mania - her nickname, given by a coach because of her supposedly exceptional hearing - was cresting in Korea.
Her game, and her fans’ enthusiasm, have cooled a bit since. She has no top 10 finishes on tour this year, and ranks no higher than 30th in any performance-based statistical category.
Some fans turned, and she has battled depression, as she admitted after her only win since the Evian, last year’s KEB Hana Bank Championship, which was played in Korea.
"I would be lying if I said Internet comments have not bothered me," she said through tears at a press conference afterward. "Of course I tried to tell myself these people really wanted me to do well, but the comments were quite vicious and very hard to take as a person and as a woman.
“I really wanted to rise above that and not care about them, but I have to say some of them lingered in my mind and they really pierced my heart.”
Among the many benefits that came from Lancaster Country Club hosting the 2015 U.S. Women's …
She hesitated to talk about it Wednesday. Then one of her advisors, Dr. Wan Park, leaned toward her and said, “It’s OK. It’s gone already. It’s OK to be honest.’’
“Off the course, I was so sad,’’ she said. “My mood was really down, but I had to keep playing golf. I felt all by herself here. I wanted to go back (to Korea), but it would have (been seen as a failure). It was like I was stuck between two things.’’
She said that visiting Lancaster, last year and this week, sustained her.
“When I was here, I felt the energy from here,’’ she said. “I think I’m almost done. I’m back to normal. I’m enjoying to play golf. I want to practice golf again.’’