Hyemin Kim donates Symetra Tour winnings to charity

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BEDMINSTER, N.J. -- High-profile professional golfers often get plenty of attention for their charitable causes, but a member of the rank-and-file -- a young woman still climbing the competitive ladder and not playing for lucrative purses -- was in the spotlight Wednesday at the U.S. Women's Open at Trump National Golf Club.

Hyemin Kim, a native of South Korea playing on the Symetra Tour, announced that she is donating her $15,000 check for winning the 2017 POC Med Golf Classic to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, a program that introduces girls ages 6-17 to the sport.

"My mom [Inja Park] and I always talked about donating the paycheck from my first win to charity," said Kim, 29, who is in her fifth season on the developmental circuit. "I remember growing up in Korea and first being introduced to the game. I just want to help the next generation of girls, and my hope is that this donation helps bring more girls to golf that don't have the means on their own."

LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, which began in 1989, has 408 sites that attract more than 70,000 girls. The program will use Kim's donation to provide equipment, instruction and scholarships to participants. Girls younger than 18 are currently the fastest-growing demographic in golf, according to the National Golf Foundation.

"It's so important for our current LPGA and Symetra Tour [players] to become ambassadors and help us continue changing the face of the game," said Kiernan Schindler, director of the LPGA Foundation. "And Hyemin's unprecedented gesture will go a long way."

Kim, who has one win in Korea, is having the best year of her Symetra Tour career, ranking 15th on the money list in a bid to secure an LPGA card for 2018. The day after winning the POC Med Golf Classic on April 9, she notified Symetra Tour staff she was going to give her winner's check to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf.

"I've been watching a lot of great players giving back to kids or sharing their talents," Kim told a group of youths Wednesday morning during an instruction clinic at the Open. "That's why I decided to used my first check for really special purposes. I wish you guys fall in love with golf, and I love to see you guys on the golf course more."

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