Players treated to homey feeling

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:16 AM ET

A London family with Korean roots has thrown out the welcome mat to a young Korean LPGA star.

Chong Park and Seung Jun Park are the host family for 20-year-old Jee Young Lee and her father. The Parks have lived in Canada since 1975 and Chong Park is editor of the London Korean Community Newspaper.

The rookie -- one of 21 Korean players playing this week in the Canadian Women's Open -- picked the Parks as her hosts from a list of families opening up their homes this week for players.

About one-third of the players in London this week, especially young players who attempted to qualify on Monday, have been staying in private homes.

Lee is playing today's in the pro-am.

A native of Seoul, Lee played on the Korean LPGA Tour in 2004 before heading to the U.S. in 2005. She experienced success almost immediately there, winning the CJ Nine Bridges Classic, becoming the 14th non-LPGA member in history to win an LPGA Tour event. The win earned her an automatic spot on the Tour this year.

She has won $269,213 this season in 17 events, with two top-10 finishes.

When Lee arrived Monday night from the British Open a home-cooked meal of sam gup sal -- layered pork -- was waiting at the Park home in south London. The rest of the week, her father will do the cooking, specializing in Korean dishes.

"Most of the players from Korea have trouble with the food," said Chong Park, who is also a tournament volunteer.

Park said he is trying to help all the Korean players by passing out maps of London showing Korean grocery stores and four Korean restaurants. Park said there are about 5,000 Koreans in the London area.

Park said, like many golf fans, he was curious why so many Asian players, especially from South Korea, have produced amazing results in recent years. There are 32 on the LPGA Tour roster.

"It's a very good question," Park said. "Her father mentioned two things -- Se Ri Pak and tougher competition. I think they come because over here it's a big ocean instead of being fish living in a small pond at home."


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