10 Jan 2024 | Professional golf | Women and girls |
Grace Kim starts 2024 with Olympics on her mind
by Paul Munnings
With a new year underway, Grace Kim has some new goals to achieve after a spectacular 2023.
On the LPGA tournament winner’s list is one she knows will take plenty of good golf to achieve in the first half of 2024 – making the Australian team for the Olympic Games in Paris.
Currently pencilled into the two spots on the women’s team, determined by positions on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, are the 2020 Olympic duo, West Australians Minjee Lee and Hannah Green, who have a sizeable gap to their nearest challengers.
Ranked fourth in the world, Lee is a clearcut Australian No.1 and a virtual lock for Paris.
Green (No.27), who finished fifth just three shots outside the medals in Tokyo, is at No,2 and will need to hold off a chasing pack that is headed by two of the game’s rising stars in Kim (No.77) and Steph Kyriacou (No.78).
June 24 is the cut-off day for qualification.
This time 12 months ago, Kim was a rookie on the LPGA Tour and ranked just inside the top 200 in the world.
A win via a sudden-death playoff in the Lotte Championship in just her second event as an LPGA Tour member resulted in a huge boost, not only to her ranking, but also her confidence that she could match it with the best in women’s golf.
Back in Hawaii, the site of her Lotte success, for a content day with her partner adidas, Kim has a new status in the game, illustrated by sharing the camera and interview time with the likes of Collin Morikawa and Ludvig Aberg.
Interest in her game is building across some major golf media markets.
Playing in the green and gold at the Olympic Games would take the 23-year-old to an even bigger audience.
“It’s on my mind,” Kim said of earning a trip to Paris.
“Getting the chance to represent Australia at the Olympics would be a huge opportunity and a huge honour,
“But I’ve got a lot to do in the next few months to have a chance of making the team.
“Hopefully I can get a few good results, one big result would definitely help.”
Kim’s first chance to impress in 2024 will come in the LPGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions on January 18-21.
Unlike the PGA Tour, whose yearly opener, the Sentry Championship, has expanded to include more than just the previous year’s tournament winners, Kim will be in a limited field of 2023 event champions in Orlando.
“I’m excited for that one. It’s less than two weeks to go now,” she said.
“It’s an event that I don’t know what it’s like but it’s great to be in it for the first time.
“I’m still a little bit rusty but I’ll be ready to go for round one.”
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