TEMECULA, Calif. (April 3, 2018) – Jenny Shin is an established LPGA player, one with more than $3 million in career earnings and one who recorded seven top-10 finishes on the LPGA in 2017. She has the luxury to pick and choose her schedule based on her whims, not the whims of where she is on the money list.
Yet Shin always makes time for an event that doesn’t add a dime to her official tour earnings – the KORE Pro-Am, the seventh-annual tournament Tuesday at Journey at Pechanga. Shin joins 28 of her fellow LPGA players in the event, which solidifies Pechanga Resort Casino’s status as one of the most dynamic resort casinos in the country.
And Shin isn’t shy in explaining what this event means to her.
“It’s a great event to meet other people in the community and grow really great relationships,” Shin said. “I’ve been going here for the last several years because I look forward to the atmosphere. The whole event was created to help the Korean players on the LPGA feel welcomed in America. I get to meet so many people and I keep in touch with them all year.”
The KORE Pro-Am is a one-day event that brings talented golfers from the LPGA to Pechanga’s well-regarded Journey at Pechanga golf course for a relaxing day of fun. Much like Pechanga’s rise to resort prominence from trailers to a palatial, state-of-the-art resort casino in 15 years, the KORE Pro-Am has become one of the most successful pro-ams in a mere six years.
The reason for that goes back to Pechanga. There are few resorts in the United States, much less California, which can put on an event like the KORE Pro-Am and draw this kind of golf talent and demand. The event is annually sold out and the LPGA field continues to get better and deeper.
This year’s field features players such as Angel Yin, the 19-year-old prodigy from Arcadia, who was the second-youngest player to ever play in a U.S. Women’s Open when she qualified for the 2012 Women’s Open at 13. By that point, Yin had already won a California State Women’s Amateur – as a 12-year-old — and would capture a second a year later. She already has a professional title – the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic – played on the 2017 U.S. Solheim Cup team as an 18-year-old, and is considered one of the longest hitters in women’s golf.
There’s Chella Choi, who already has more than $5 million in career earnings and has been in the top 30 on the LPGA money list in five of the last six years. And the one year she wasn’t top-30, Choi was 31st. She has one LPGA victory – the 2015 Marathon Classic – and recorded the lowest nine-hole score in U.S. Women’s Open history – a 29 in the 2015 Women’s Open. Choi, who finished third at the LPGA Championship last year, has played in the KORE Pro-Am every year.
And there’s local players like Sydnee Michaels, who grew up in Temecula, attended UCLA before turning pro in 2010 and is just returning to the LPGA after giving birth to a daughter four months ago. She continues knocking on the door of her first LPGA victory, recording her best finish in 2015, when she tied for fourth at the 2015 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic.
“I just heard it was such an awesome event, it was run really well and the party was great,” said Michaels, who aced the par-3 17th hole at last week’s ANA Inspiration, the LPGA’s first major of the year. “It’s also in my hometown, so I was really looking forward to playing this year. I was really excited when they had a spot for me. Especially, being at home, at Pechanga, it’s such a beautiful resort, so I was really looking forward to it.”
The beauty of the KORE Pro-Am is the fact the LPGA players are as excited about meeting their amateur partners as the amateurs are playing with such talent.
“For pro-ams, we typically leave right after we finish play, but at the KORE Pro-Am, we all get in the day before and we get together for the night and celebrate. We eat dinner and can share great conversation with other players and amateurs that we typically don’t get a chance to talk to and we make great relationships,” said Hee Young Park, a two-time LPGA winner who has more than $5 million in career earnings and top-10 finishes in four of the tour’s five major championships.
“It’s definitely a great event. People were such great hosts there last year and the golf course itself is just such an amazing golf course,” said Megan Khang, the LPGA’s first player of Hmong and Laotian descent. “I am definitely looking forward to playing with another great group of guys or girls and just getting to see people again because I know it’s just a great spot to be in. Pechanga does host an amazing pro-am and we get to do a lot of fun activities; there’s a driving portion and a chipping portion and a putting game, so on top of the pro-am, we have little perks.”
The KORE Pro-Am is one of the featured annual events at Journey at Pechanga, the resort casino’s championship course that is open to the public. Designed by Arthur Hills and Steve Forrest and rated one of the Best Courses You Can Play by Golfweek Magazine, Journey is a creative, playable course that features scintillating elevation changes and stunning views of the Southern California Wine Country. The course also incorporates the Pechanga tribe’s culture through the integration of sacred oak trees and other cultural-sensitive artifacts. For more information on Journey at Pechanga, please visit www.pechanga.com.