Tag Archives: Golf

November Issue: Kevin Na is a Champion At Last

Champion, At Last

After earning his first PGA title last month, Kevin Na shares thoughts on a hard-won victory that’s been a decade in the making.

by Timothy Yoo

He created a minor stir with his then-controversial decision to drop out of high school to pursue a professional golf career at the age of 17. And last April at the Texas Open, he became a target for ribbing on ESPN’s SportsCenter, and nearly a million YouTube views, when he carded a 16 at the par-4 ninth hole, the worst single-hole score since the PGA Tour started keeping records.

But now Kevin Na can call himself a PGA tournament winner. The eight-year veteran of the pro tour captured the title at the 2011 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Oct. 2. KoreAm caught up with the now-28-year-old to chat about his breakthrough win and how his career has evolved over the years.

[ad#graphic-square]

Congratulations, Kevin. Obviously, the big news is your first PGA Tour victory. Can you describe what if felt like to get that win?

It feels great, since it was something that I had been working hard my whole life to get. I was a little nervous because I had been close several times, but for some reason, I was very confident that I would pull through this time.

Before winning this tournament, you had been knocking on the door. You were in contention at the Northern Trust Open back in February, and you had a fantastic top-10 result at the PGA Championship in August. Do you think you have turned a corner with your golf game? Continue reading

KJ Choi Pulls Ahead Of Anthony Kim To Win Own Tournament

KJ Choi came back from three strokes behind heading into the final round to win the inaugural CJ Invitational in Yeoju, South Korea by two strokes on Sunday.

The Korean-born golfer, sitting in third place after Saturday’s round behind surprise leader Lee Ki-Sang and Korean American Anthony Kim, shot a five-under-par 67 in the final round, according to AFP.

Choi, 41, “wowed the crowd” with three birdies on the homeward nine in front of large galleries at the Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club in Yeoju, a city located about 65 miles south of Seoul.

It was Choi’s second victory of the season following his triumph in the Players Championship in the United States and his fifth career title on the Asian Tour, where he is an honorary member.

“This week I had so many things going on. I didn’t really think about the win. I was busy looking after the players and taking care of the sponsors,” said Choi.

“Probably the fact that I wasn’t thinking about the tournament helped me feel at ease. The way it turned out, I’m happy to be the inaugural champion and even though I am hosting this event, it gives a special meaning,” said Choi, who totalled 17-under-par 271 and pocketed $118,875.

Meanwhile, fellow countryman Noh Seung-Yul, ranked no. 1 on the Asian Tour, finished in second place. Kim and Saturday’s leader Lee closed in a tie for third place.

[ad#graphic-square]

Friday's Link Attack: Anthony Kim, Dr. Sammy Lee

American Kim leads by a hair in S. Korea
AP via Google News

Anthony Kim may soon require a trip to the hairdresser after he battled his way to a six-under-par 66 on Friday to propel him into a three-shot halfway lead at the inaugural CJ Invitational.

The 26-year-old American, a three-time winner in the United States, did not even produce his best golf at the Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club but ground out seven birdies in the $750,000 event in South Korea hosted by K.J. Choi.

Choi endured an error-strewn 70 for tied second place with fellow South Koreans Lee Ki-Sang and David Oh, who shot 67 and 69 respectively for a 137 total in the co-sanctioned Asian Tour and Korean Golf Tour showpiece.

Oral history? Telling it like it was
Orange County Register

Dr. Sammy Lee has a tale to tell.

Born in California in 1920, he was inspired by the 1932 LA Olympics to become a two-time Olympic gold diving champion. A respected doctor and veteran, he traveled the world and was family friends with Syngman Rhee, the first president of South Korea.

The son of immigrants, he encountered discrimination that sounds horse and buggy today – outmoded from a different time.

Lee could not practice diving at private clubs because these pools were closed to Asians. During World War II, he once wore a badge: “I am Korean, not a Jap.” He won the 1953 Sullivan Award from the Amateur Athletic Union, but was turned down twice in 1954 trying to buy a house in all-white Garden Grove — until the media got involved.

Those are the facts, an outline for a story only Lee can tell. It’s the kind of the story the Center for Oral and Public History at Cal State Fullerton wants to capture.

Palisades Park woman admits role in ID-theft and bank-fraud ring
Bergen County Record (N.J.)

A Palisades Park woman who was one of 53 suspects arrested in a massive identity-theft and bank-fraud ring last year pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to produce phony identification documents, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

Sung-Sil Joh, 47, also pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting financial institutions, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, authorities said.

Joh was arrested in September 2010 when authorities broke up an identity-theft and bank-fraud ring allegedly run by Sang-Hyun “Jimmy” Park, 44, of Palisades Park.

The ring allegedly obtained Social Security cards beginning with “586.” Cards with that prefix were issued legitimately in the 1990s to Chinese citizens who came to work in American territories such as American Samoa, Guam and Saipan.

[ad#graphic-square]

US citizen killed in Medan
Jakarta Post (Indonesia)

US citizen Samuel Hyein, 28, died after he was stabbed by two unidentified men riding on a motorcycle.

The Korean-American was taking a pedicab headed to his hotel from Polonia International Airport, according to North Sumatra Police chief Sr. Comr. Heru Prakoso.

“The victim had just arrived at 10:30 p.m. local time from Malaysia on an AirAsia flight,” Heru said on Thursday.

Hyein bled to death from a wound to his leg while being treated at Elisabeth Hospital in Medan.

“We are still trying to identify the perpetrators. Their features were obscured since they wore helmets,” Heru said.

Detectives were still searching for a motive, Heru said. All of Hyein’s property was accounted for, mooting assumptions that the killing was a botched robbery.

From Korean orphan to Richmond local hero
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia)

Margaret Lerke Woody, whose abandonment as a Korean infant severed her ancestral bloodlines, has become a vital Richmond community lifeline as a volunteer, caregiver and champion of inclusion.

For her efforts, Woody was honored as a “local hero” during Thursday night’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative Awards at the Virginia Historical Society. With her recognition comes a $5,000 gift from Bank of America to ART 180, an organization that seeks to transform local youth and communities through art.

Marina woman says she was imprisoned in chicken coop
Monterey County-Herald (Calif.)

A Korean woman in California locked up her Japanese mother-in-law in a chicken coop.

A 92-year-old woman reported to the Marina Police Department she was battered and locked in a chicken coop Wednesday by her daughter-in-law.

The alleged victim said Myuong Sakasegawa, 64, took her purse, battered her, and locked her in the chicken coop. She said she was released from the coop by her son about an hour later.

(HT Marmot’s Hole)

Manoa school featured in George Clooney movie
KHON2.com (Honolulu, HI)

The upcoming film “The Descendants,” starring George Clooney and directed by Alexander Payne was shot entirely in Hawaii and hundreds of local students auditioned for small parts in the movie. One of them was high school student Esther Kang, who had a scene with the Academy Award-winning actor.

“He was like making jokes, he was a super cool guy, like, I had a conversation with him. It was sweet just to meet him,” said Esther Kang. “When I found out [I was cast] I was so happy it was like the best day of my life.”

Adoption satire mostly hits mark
Minneapolis Star Tribune

In “Four Destinies,” Korean-American playwright Katie Hae Leo’s smart, cutting social satire now up in a premiere in Minneapolis, a meddlesome character named Katie Leo (played by Katie Bradley) declares that she wants to speak for all adoptees. And she does, with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Beckman’s Kim runs over Northwood for five TDs
OCVarsity

It turns out last week was just a warmup for Jeff Kim.

After rushing for 191 yards and two touchdowns last week against Woodbridge, Kim ran for 253 yards and five touchdowns Thursday in visiting Beckman’s 52-31 victory over Northwood in a Pacific Coast League game at Irvine High.

Kim, who was not allowed to play in three games because of undisclosed reasons and returned to action for the Woodbridge game, had 218 yards in the first half and scored four touchdowns in the second quarter.

For the season, Kim, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior, has rushed for 621 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Organizers Accused of Sexually Harassing Beauty Queens
Chosun Ilbo

Contestants of an international beauty pageant hosted by Korea were sexually harassed and offered places in the competition in exchange for sex, contestants claim.

Amy Willerton (19), who competed in the 2011 Miss Asia Pacific World in Korea from Oct. 1 to 15, was quoted by the Sun on Wednesday as saying, “I had two of the organisers sexually assault me — one tried to pull my top down.”

“Girls were pulled aside and told they knew what they had to do if they wanted to win — we all knew they meant sex,” Willerton said.

About 50 contestants participated in the pageant, the first of its kind, in Seoul, Daegu and Busan between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15. The top prize was US$20,000.

Contestants were put in a hotel without enough beds and fed just one meal per day, Willerton said. An optional “talent round” was won by Miss Venezuela, who had not even entered that section of the competition.

Latest hot Korean medical tour: Voice feminization surgery
CNNGo

A little over a decade ago, Dr. Kim Hyung-tae, 48, was your standard otolaryngologist, or a doctor specializing in ear, nose and throat.

Now he is being touted as the best in a highly specialized area — voice feminization surgery, which he developed while treating anemic patients at Catholic University Hospital in Seoul.

Initially devised as a way to combat the voice-deepening side effects of treating anemic female patients, voice feminization surgery is becoming increasingly sought after by transsexuals from overseas who fly in to specifically to receive this treatment, reported Joongang Ilbo today.

[ad#graphic-square]

Name released of victim in fatal Wednesday crash near Drummond
KBZK.com (Bozeman, Mont.)

Powell County authorities released the name of a man killed in a Wednesday morning crash on I-90 near Deer Lodge as Yun Seok Kang, 41, of Denver, Colorado.

A passenger car with two people hit an elk while traveling westbound in Powell County at around 3 a.m. Wednesday, according to Montana Highway patrol Trooper Tom Gill. Gill said after hitting the elk, the driver lost control of the vehicle, which then crossed the median into the eastbound lanes and hit a semi truck head-on.

Kang was a passenger in the car. The driver, a female, was taken to Deer Lodge by ambulance and then airlifted to a Great Falls hospital.

Student group raises awareness about North Korea
The Pitt News (Univ. of Pittsburgh)

Pitt’s chapter of Liberties in North Korea is a nonprofit student organization designed to break down those walls of silence.

“We raise awareness about not only the human-rights atrocities going on in North Korea, but also the refugee situation in China,” T.J. Collanto, president of Pitt’s Liberty in North Korea chapter, said.

Last year, former Pitt seniors Laura Lee and Jimmy Eppley launched the organization on campus. They devised a way to involve Pitt in the national organization after watching a documentary screening of the crisis in North Korea. Eppley is now a fifth-year senior and Lee has graduated, but the club’s message resonated with the people who joined.

N.Y. Choi Wins LPGA Event

Golfer Na Yeon Choi took home her first LPGA tour victory for the year on Sunday after she edged out top-ranked Yani Tseng by a single stroke.

Choi carded a 3-under-68 at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia event in Kuala Lumpur to finish with a 15-under 269. Choi took home prize money of $285,000.

“I took something from last week,” Choi told the Associated Press. “I had a great experience from last week. … I did my best last week. … So, I learned something. And then this week, I had a great feeling about my game. I played so well this week.”

Choi became only the second South Korean winner on the LPGA Tour this year, joining U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu. The victory also was the 100th LPGA Tour win by players of Korean descent.

“I won my fifth tournament and a hundred times for all of the Korean players,” Choi said. “So it’s very nice. Icing on the cake.”

ESPN.com wrote that Choi might have distinguished herself as South Korea’s top golfer.

Monday's Link Attack: Dia Frampton, NY Choi, HyunA

Blake Shelton Announces US Arena Tour, Dia Frampton To Open
Hollywood Reporter

Shelton will hit 27 cities on the “Well Lit & Amplified Tour 2012” starting in January in Toledo and ending in March in Las Vegas. His opening acts include country singer Justin Moore and his mentee on NBC’s The Voice, finalist Dia Frampton, as reported by All Access Music Group.

Local Politicians Press to Win Korean-American Vote
Patch.com (Annandale, Va.)

Dozens of candidates for public office gathered in Fairfax Thursday night to try and win votes from within the Korean-American community.

Often starting out with a greeting in Korean, the candidates by and large stressed the importance of relief for small businesses, family values, opportunities for immigrants and access to better education while speaking to a packed audience during the 2011 Korean American Association of Virginia/Korea Times Candidates Night.

‘Bling Ring’ Burglar Pleads No Contest
angryasianman

Remember Rachel Lee, one of the alleged masterminds behind the so-called “bling ring”? She and her accomplices were accused of targeting wealthy celebrities, breaking into their homes and making off with millions in luxury goods and accessories.

Last week, Lee appeared in court and pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree residential burglary in the 2009 break-in of reality star Audrina Patridge’s house. She is expected to be sentenced to four years in state prison as part of a plea bargain.

Lee’s mother is an immigrant from North Korea, according to Vanity Fair, and her father is a businessman living in Las Vegas.

South Korea stares down demographic dilemma
Reuters

Kim, a doctoral student in her 30s, personifies many of the qualities that make South Korea such an economic force — relative youth, education and ambition.

The trouble — for corporations and policymakers — is that she is equally typical by not wanting to have children.

“I just want to live happily with my husband without having to worry about kids or making sacrifices for them,” said Kim, asking to be identified only by her surname.

N.Y. Choi, Lewis improve women’s golf ranking
UPI

Choi Na-yeon and Stacy Lewis each move up one place, causing minor shifts in the world women’s golf rankings, updated Monday.

The LPGA heads into an Asian swing with tournaments in South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan this month as the 2011 schedule begins to wind down. Choi moved past South Korean countrywoman Shin Jiyai for fourth in this week’s world rankings.

Warrant issued for US soldier over rape
Korea Times

A local district court issued Saturday a warrant to arrest a U.S. soldier on charges of raping a young Korean woman, citing concerns that he might flee the country.

The 21-year-old Army private, identified only as “K” who is assigned to the 2nd U.S. Infantry Division in Dongducheon, is accused of having raped an 18-year-old girl near his unit at around 4 a.m. on Sept. 24.

Prosecutors are expected to indict the American soldier soon.

She was watching TV alone when he broke into her house, according to the police. Police officers identified the American soldier through a surveillance camera installed near her house and informed the U.S. military of the case.

Piano Prodigy Wants to Use Berklee Scholarship to Help Society
Chosun Ilbo

Kang Chae-ri, 16, ranks as the youngest person ever to be admitted to the prestigious college, which stands as a world authority in pop music. She is also first Korean recipient of the coveted Presidential Scholarship, which covers full tuition and living expenses.

DVD of the Week: Woman on the Beach
New Yorker

The filmmaker-protagonist of the South Korean director Hong Sang-soo’s dryly comic 2006 romantic drama, “Woman on the Beach”, is at work on a project of peculiar abstraction—the sort of silly idea that comes from spending too much time alone and at a desk—and is having trouble finishing his script. The adventure that follows from his efforts to unblock himself—which also entails some emotional and erotic unblocking, with two women who, he thinks, resemble each other—becomes the basis for his new film.

Seoul Taco introduces Korean fusion to St. Louis
Washington Life (Washington Univ.)

For those who didn’t grow up in a large city, it’s completely understandable not to have heard of Korean food served in a tortilla. But St. Louis native David Choi is trying to change that, one taco at a time.

Choi and his business partner Andy Heck are the owners of the Seoul Taco food truck, which serves traditional Korean food with a Mexican twist. The truck serves traditional Korean food, such as bulgogi (literally, “fire meat”) and spicy pork, on a taco or inside a quesadilla. Seoul Taco is only in its third month and makes a weekly stop at Wash. U. on Thursdays.

HyunA Ranked 17th on Under-21 Billboard Chart
Billboard.com

Nineteen-year-old South Korean pop singer HyunA got her start with pop girl group Wonder Girls in 2007. After overcoming health issues, she left the group to become lead rapper and vocalist of 4Minute and embarked on her own solo career. But HyunA’s career really took off when she became the star of her own show.

2010 saw the debut of her first single “Change,” and in July of 2011 she released her first mini-album “Bubble Pop!,” the video for which was deemed “too sexy” for some Korean TV outlets. The controversial star displays a sexiness and stage presence far beyond her years, and is well on her way to becoming one of the key faces of the global K-Pop movement. HyunA, now a fixture in South Korean pop culture, is set to perform on the Korean version of “Dancing With the Stars” in June 2012.

[ad#graphic-square]

Kevin Na Wins First PGA Title

Kevin Na notched his first PGA tour victory, winning the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Sunday.

The 28-year-old golfer, who won previously on the Asian Tour and Nationwide Tour, made three late birdies in the final round to pull away for a two-stroke win over fellow American Nick Watney. Na carded a 6-under 65 on Sunday for a total of 261, 23-under, at the event in Las Vegas, just minutes away from his home.

“The last two weeks before the tournament, I played here every day,” Na told the Las Vegas Sun. “Every day, I played 18 holes. Obviously, I know the course and I know the greens but it was just a matter of making sure I was more comfortable with the holes and the shots I wanted to hit.”

Na began playing golf at the age of nine, a year after immigrating with his family to the United States, and famously dropped out of high school to turn pro in 2001.

Na took home $792,000 for winning the tournament and now has career earnings in excess of $11 million, according to PGATour.com.

[ad#graphic-square]

Monday's Link Attack: Chris Jeon, Michelle Wie, Bae Doona

Living with Libyan rebels: U.S. student’s story
CBS News

UCLA student Chris Jeon appeared on CBS’ “The Early Show” to talk about his experience with Libyan rebels.

“The first day there,’ Jeon continued, “was actually a desert skirmish. Artillery would hit the ground, and they would come up to me and feel my heartbeat to see if I was scared. And of course, it was pounding; they would laugh at me, but I didn’t run away. They called me ‘Braveheart,’ and I think after that, they realized that I was there seriously, and I wouldn’t back down or anything; they actually took me into the barracks after the first day and I slept with them.”

Jeon also appeared on CNN.

Europe Wins Solheim Cup
AP via ESPN.com

Europe won the Solheim Cup for the first time since 2003 on Sunday, finishing powerfully to beat the United States 15-13 at Killeen Castle.

Norway’s Suzann Pettersen turned the momentum Europe’s way when she recovered from 1 down with birdies at the last three holes to beat Michelle Wie by one hole.

A trek across South Korea filled with ‘small joys’
Los Angeles Times

The hill appeared out of the mist, taunting me. Soaked in sweat and an entire day’s rain, lugging a 40-pound backpack, I could hardly see through my fogged-up lenses. But what I could see, I didn’t like.

Seven hours earlier, I had started a solo walk across my native land, dreaming of seeing the real South Korea. It was nearly dark when I reached the imposing hill. What lay on the other side — more forest? I had to find someplace to stay for the night, but where? Then, a tougher question: Could I handle the real thing?

I had left South Korea in 2002, when I was 16, to study in the U.S. I loved the English language and wanted to be surrounded by it.

In all, I spent seven years in Washington state, always thinking of how hard my family worked to pay for my college education.

Whenever I felt homesick, I’d visit my school’s East Asia library and read Korean books. The written Korean language was a big comfort, but what I loved most were the travel books that described the beauty and mystery of the landscape, people and culture.

Body Recovered From Lake Congamond
NBC Connecticut

The body of a 44 year old man has been recovered from Lake Congamond, Police said. The man has been identified as Dong Soo Kim of Springfield, Mass.

Crews were called to the scene around noon on Saturday after witnesses said Kim’s daughter fell overboard while boating. Kim jumped in after her but never resurfaced.

Officials at the scene said the daughter was pulled from the water by nearby boaters and given CPR. She was taken to an area hospital.

N. Korean heir apparent cements status: S. Korea
AFP via Google News

The son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has cemented his status as leader-in-waiting through frequent field trips with his ailing father, the South’s unification ministry said Monday.

Kim Jong-Un has accompanied his father 100 times, or on two-thirds, of his trademark “field guidance” trips, since he was confirmed as leader-in-waiting a year ago, the ministry said in a report.

Bae Doo-na Ice Cool Ahead of Hollywood Debut
Chosun Ilbo

All it took was a video call and a short home movie, and the Wachowski brothers — the brains behind “The Matrix” trilogy — were sold on actress Bae Doo-na.

The Wachowskis had been looking around for someone to fill a role in their upcoming movie, “Cloud Atlas,” which has a star-studded cast including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon and Hugo Weaving.

Blowing the cobwebs off Korea’s heritage
Yonhap

Korea’s history offers it all — kingdoms rise and fall, wars smolder and blaze, religions wax and wane, orthodoxies are established and questioned. Across this colorful tapestry royals strut, heroes ride, rebels plot and villains scuttle.

Why then, is English language presentation of so many traditional Korean heritage assets so unremittingly dull?

Adoptee becomes first Korean to reach French Senate
Yonhap

A South Korean adoptee won a seat in the French Senate in the country’s parliamentary election on Sunday, becoming the first ethnic Korean to advance to France’s top political body.

Jean-Vincent Place, 43, who was adopted by a French family in the 1970s and grew to become a politician, was elected as a French senator after running in a constituency of the province of Ile de France on the leftist Green Party ticket.

[ad#graphic-square]

Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone
Time.com

On a wet Wednesday evening in Seoul, six government employees gather at the office to prepare for a late-night patrol. The mission is as simple as it is counterintuitive: to find children who are studying after 10 p.m. And stop them.

In South Korea, it has come to this. To reduce the country’s addiction to private, after-hours tutoring academies (called hagwons), the authorities have begun enforcing a curfew — even paying citizens bounties to turn in violators.

Way Home by Erick Oh
Vimeo

Former UC Berkeley Golfer Dies At 21

by Y. PETER KANG

** UPDATE — Fri. 11:15 AM PST **

Fremont police said they are treating the death of former U.C. Berkeley golfer Diane Kwon as “suspicious,” according to the San Jose Mercury News. The paper reported that Kwon’s body was found in the rear parking lot of a shopping center, citing police.

About 11 p.m. Monday, Kwon was discovered by a passer-by near her 2003 Honda Accord, behind a building formerly occupied by Barnes & Noble at Fremont Plaza, 3950 Mowry Ave., Detective Bill Veteran said.

[ad#300]

Original story:

Former U.C. Berkeley golf team member Diane Kwon died on Tuesday in her hometown of Fremont, Calif. but authorities said the 21-year-old student’s cause of death was not immediately known.

“We are all stunned and deeply saddened by the loss of Diane,” Cal head coach Nancy McDaniel told GolfWeek.com. “What struck me most about her was her vivacious personality and the friendships that she forged wherever we went.”

The Alameda County Coroner’s Office told KoreAm that the cause of death is under investigation but the case was not being treated as a suicide. A spokeswoman said they are conducting a toxicology test which typically takes two months to process. Continue reading