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USWO champ Lee6 gets hero's welcome upon return to South Korea

Jeongeun Lee6

Jeongeun Lee6 waited three months to celebrate her U.S. Women’s Open victory with family and friends in South Korea, but the USGA made her wait worth it, sponsoring a trophy tour in her homeland.

Lee6 enjoyed a hero’s welcome at the Seoul airport this week while making her first return home since winning at the Country Club of Charleston back in June. She brought the U.S. Women’s Open trophy with her on a tour that included a news conference, reception and a stop at Gyeongbokgung Royal Palace.

Lee6’s parents, her fan club and media greeted her when she arrived.

“I didn’t expect there would be so many people here today,” Lee6 said. “It has been a while since the U.S. Women’s Open. I thought the fans and reporters wouldn’t care as much. But today, I saw so many media and fans are here, to celebrate with me, and congratulate me, put so much effort into today, I feel so happy and blessed.”

Jung Ho Lee, Lee6’s father, who was paralyzed in an automobile accident when his daughter was 4, watched the U.S. Women’s Open on TV from South Korea. Being confined to a wheelchair limits his travel, but he was at the airport reception, with Lee6’s mother, Eunjin Ju.

Jeongeun Lee6

“We miss her very much,” Jung Ho said. “We video chat a lot, and she will share her life and what is going on at tournaments. We talk a lot, but we haven’t been able to see her for months.”

Lee6 will likely give her homeland something else to celebrate at year’s end. She’s on track to become the fifth consecutive South Korean to win the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honor.

“Before I moved to the LPGA tour, I had doubts about myself and wondered if I could be good enough to win there,” Lee6 said. “And winning the U.S. Women’s Open gave me so much confidence, and I’m ready to win more.”