Trailblazing golfer Ku Ok-hee dies in Japan

SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- Ku Ok-hee, the first South Korean to win on the LPGA Tour, has passed away at the age of 56, golf sources here said Thursday.

Sources said Ku died of a heart attack on Wednesday in Shizuoka, Japan. No further details were immediately available.

Ku won the Standard Register Turquoise Classic on the LPGA Tour in March 1988, becoming the first South Korean to find the winner's circle in the world's most prestigious women's tour.

Since her maiden win, South Koreans have become a dominant force in women's golf. Over the last quarter century, 37 South Korean golfers, including those of Korean descent, have claimed 118 LPGA titles, led by Pak Se-ri, a World Golf Hall of Famer with 25 wins.

Ku made her professional debut in 1978 and began playing in Japan full-time in 1983. She notched 20 victories on the KLPGA Tour and 23 wins on the LPGA of Japan Tour.

Ku served as the president of the KLPGA from 2011 to 2012.

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