23 May 2022 | Professional golf |

Amazing Grace's maiden pro win

by PGA of Australia

Grace Kim.

By Tony Webeck

It has taken Sydney’s Grace Kim just six starts to earn her first win on the Epson Tour as she eyes promotion to the LPGA Tour.

Tied for the lead through two rounds, Kim used an eagle from 16 feet at the par-5 16th to clinch a five-stroke victory with a three-round total of 18-under at the IOA Golf Classic in Florida.

Kim went 66-65-64 to relegate fellow Australian Sarah Jane Smith (68) to second spot with Robyn Choi (67) rounding out an excellent tournament for the Aussies in a share of fourth.

With her father Kevin on the bag, Kim dropped a shot at the par-3 second but bounced back quickly with birdies at three, five and six to edge clear.

A prolific winner as an amateur and a two-time winner on the Women’s All Pro Tour prior to turning professional last year, Kim kept the hammer down, allowing herself a brief moment to exhale when she made eagle at the 16th.

She closed in style with a sixth birdie at the par-3 18th to further emphasise her status as a star of the future.

“I did not expect a win this early in my career,” conceded Kim.

“To have an Epson event as my first professional career win is quite special and to have Dad on the bag is that little bit extra on top.

“This is a good start. I think he’s going to stay on the bag for a little bit,” added Kim following her father’s arrival from Sydney on Monday.

A member of the Golf Australia Rookie Squad, Kim’s previous best finish prior to this week was a tie for 17th at the Copper Rock Championship.

She and coach Khan Pullen had spoken recently with regards to the need to stay patient as she elevates her game into more elite professional company.

It was advice that proved prudent as Kim moved from 75th to seventh in the Race To The Card, the top 10 at season’s end to earn direct promotion to the LPGA Tour in 2023.

It was very nearly cause for a double celebration among the Aussie girls this week after Perth’s Whitney Hillier missed out on a maiden Ladies European Tour title at the Jabra Ladies Open in France.

Out to a three-stroke lead early in the final round, Hillier shot 69 in the final round to finish tied with Tiia Koivisto at the end of 54 holes, Koivisto’s birdie at the first playoff hole denying Hillier the victory.

Brad Kennedy missed the three-man playoff at the Golf Partner Pro-Am Tournament by a single stroke as he settled for a share of fourth while Cameron Smith and Lucas Herbert were the top Aussies at the US PGA Championship, the pair finishing tied for 13th as Justin Thomas bested Will Zalatoris in the playoff.

Results

Epson Tour IOA Golf Classic Alaqua Country Club, Longwood, Florida

  • Winner Grace Kim 66-65-64—195 $US30,000

  • T2 Sarah Jane Smith 66-66-68—200 $16,514

  • T4 Robyn Choi 68-66-67—201 $9,773

  • T15 Hira Naveed 66-71-69—206 $2,967

  • T24 Karis Davidson 70-68-70—208 $2,133

  • T28 Soo Jin Lee 67-71-71—209 $1,756

  • T35 Gabriela Ruffels70-69-71—210 $1,299

  • T63 Amelia Garvey 71-70-76—217 $672

  • MC Stephanie Na 73-72—145

  • MC Julienne Soo 73-75—148

US PGA Championship Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Oklahoma Winner Justin Thomas 67-67-74-67—275 $US2.7m - Won in three-hole aggregate playoff

  • T13 Cameron Smith68-70-73-69—280 $291,250

  • T13 Lucas Herbert 68-73-68-71—280 $291,250

  • T34 Marc Leishman 72-71-73-68—284 $71,250

  • T48 Cam Davis 72-72-72-70—286 $35,000

  • 54 Ryan Fox 70-70-70-77—287 $29,250

  • T55 Jason Day 71-72-72-73—288 $28,750

  • MC Min Woo Lee 73-72—145

  • MC Adam Scott 77-70—147

  • MC Matt Jones 73-77—150

Korn Ferry Tour Advent Health Championship Blue Hills Country Club, Kansas City, Missouri

  • Winner Trevor Cone 65-67-70-70—272 $US135,000

  • T38 Nick Voke 70-71-73-71—285 $3,878

  • MC Rhein Gibson 75-71—146

  • MC Brett Drewitt 73-77—150

Challenge Tour Challenge de Espana Iberostar Real Club de Golf Novo Sancti Petri, Cadiz, Spain

  • Winner Jens Dantorp 74-71-67-66—278 €40,000

  • T53 Josh Geary 71-76-72-76—295 €925

  • T53 Dimitrios Papadatos 75-76-74-70—295 €925

  • T58 Daniel Hillier 73-77-73-74—297 €812.50

  • MC Jarryd Felton 77-75—152

  • MC Blake Windred 78-74—152

  • MC Deyen Lawson 73-80—153

Ladies European Tour Jabra Ladies Open Evian Resort Golf Club, Évian-les-Bains, France

  • Winner Tiia Koivisto 72-69-66—207 €37,500 - Won on first hole of sudden-death playoff

  • 2 Whitney Hillier 67-71-69—207 €22,500

  • MC Amy Walsh 84-71—155

Japan Golf Tour Golf Partner Pro-Am Tournament Toride Kokusai Golf Club, Tsukubamirai, Japan

  • Winner Shugo Imahira 65-67-61-65—258 ¥10m - Won on second hole of sudden-death playoff

  • T4 Brad Kennedy 61-63-69-66—259 ¥2.2m

  • T16 Anthony Quayle 66-68-67-64—265 ¥737,500

  • T22 Brendan Jones 70-63-69-65—267 ¥447,500

  • T37 Andrew Evans 68-66-68-68—270 ¥245,000

  • MC David Bransdon 68-71—139

  • MC Adam Bland 68-71—139

  • MC Dylan Perry 69-70—139

  • MC Matthew Griffin 69-70—139

  • MC Michael Hendry 72-70—142

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