10 Oct 2022 | Professional golf |
Grace Kim joins LPGA ranks
by Australian Golf Media
By Tony Webeck
Sydney’s Grace Kim will join those who have been to this point confined to her Instagram feed after confirming her promotion to the LPGA Tour in 2023. Kim was forced to watch the culmination of the Epson Tour season from the sidelines after missing the cut at the Epson Tour Championship in Florida but had done enough to end the year in fifth position on the Ascensus Race to the Card standings. Only the top three prior to the Tour Championship were guaranteed one of the 10 cards on offer but the 21-year-old enjoyed a relatively comfortable weekend of scoreboard watching, falling just one place from fourth to fifth on the points list. Fellow Australians Gabriela Ruffels and Robyn Choi finished T11 and T20 respectively at the Tour Championship but that wasn’t enough to force their way into the top 10. Ruffels fell one spot to 15th while Choi ended her best year to date in 17th position, the pair now destined for the LPGA Tour Q-Series to try and earn a card for 2023. Kim is the first Australian since Hannah Green in 2017 to earn promotion to the LPGA Tour via the secondary Epson Tour and can now look forward to teeing it up alongside her childhood heroes next season. “As a rookie on the Epson Tour – the secondary tour of the LPGA – it’s a highlight for me,” Kim said of her immediate advancement. “To be able to finish top 10 and get it done during the first year… A lot of the girls repeat year after year and I’m quite fortunate and blessed to have got it done the first year. “Seeing ‘Greeny’, seeing Su (Oh), a lot of the American and international players that I looked up to and getting to play amongst them is pretty cool. “They’re people that I used to see on TV and Instagram highlights; that means I’m going to be in amongst them. “Hopefully I have a good year next year as well and do something similar like I did this year.” Kim’s season was built upon a breakthrough win at the IOA Golf Classic in May, four further top-10 finishes and total prize money of $US89,720 paving her way to the big time. Domiciled within the top 10 for the majority of the season, Kim admitted that it was finally a relief to have her card confirmed on Sunday. “The whole year has been a bit of a struggle mentally and physically,” said the Avondale Golf Club product. “Knowing that I was in a bit of a comfortable position at the start of the year, going into the Tour Championship settled my mind a little bit but it’s not done until it’s really done on the 18th. “Performance-wise (this week) wasn’t good but mentally it didn’t really stress me as much as the girls outside the top 10. “I was in a ‘safe’ position but I didn’t want to settle my mind too much about it because anything could happen. “I’m just grateful that I had some good performances mid-season and finished where I was.”
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