Hot-shot amateur golfer turns pro, signs lucrative endorsement deal

By Yonhap
  • Published : Aug 28, 2017 - 15:35
  • Updated : Aug 28, 2017 - 15:52

South Korean teen golfer Choi Hye-jin signed a lucrative endorsement deal Monday, just days after turning professional.

Choi, runner-up at the US Women's Open last month, signed a two-year deal with Lotte Group. While exact financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Choi reportedly signed for the biggest contract ever handed to a rookie by a Korean conglomerate.

One Lotte official said Choi will receive about 600 million won ($535,800) per year. The official said there were other companies who offered Choi more money, but Lotte first took interest in Choi three years ago.

Choi is also expected to receive performance-based incentives, depending on her positions in the world rankings and money list, and her showing at major championships.

In this photo provided by the Korea LPGA Tour, Choi Hye-jin celebrates her victory at the Bogner MBN Ladies Open at the Star Hue Country Club in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi Province, on Aug. 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

Choi turned 18 last Wednesday and turned pro the following day.

In her final tournament as an amateur on Aug. 20, Choi won the Bogner MBN Ladies Open on the Korea LPGA Tour, becoming the first amateur in 18 years to win twice in South Korea in one season.

Choi will make her professional debut at this week's KLPGA event, the Hanwha Finance Classic.

"It still hasn't hit me that I am now a professional golfer," Choi said. "I've learned so much by playing professional events over the past couple of years, and I'd like to return people's love and support with strong play."

After this week, Choi will fly to France to compete in the LPGA season's final major, the Evian Championships, starting Sept. 14. (Yonhap)