16 Apr 2023 | Professional golf |
Grace Kim's groundbreaking LPGA win
by Martin Blake
Australia’s Grace Kim has won her first LPGA Tour tournament in just her third start as a full member of the world’s biggest women’s tour.
The 22-year-old Kim, who plays out of Avondale Golf Club in Sydney, made a birdie putt from eight feet at the first playoff hole in the $US 2 million Lotte Championship at Hoakalei Country Club in Hawaii against Yu Liu of China and Yu Jin Sung of South Korea to seal the victory.
It is her second tournament win since turning professional in 2021, having won on the secondary Epson Tour from which she graduated to the LPGA at the end of last year.
She will receive $US300,000 but also has guaranteed her playing rights for the next two years on the LPGA.
The former Youth Olympics gold medallist and Australian Amateur champion, who is a member of Golf Australia’s Rookie Squad, had birdied the last two holes in regulation to reach the playoff.
Her scores were 71-67-70-68 for 12-under par.
In the playoff back up the 18th hole, she went over the water to the right up to the fringe of the green while Liu and Sung scrambed after going left, then chipped up close and made the winning putt.
“I definitely wanted to have a good go at it knowing that the green wasn’t the best, I guess, angle in from where we were,” Kim said. “I would have to admit that I wasn’t planning to go that aggressive. I did push it right. So just letting you guys know. Yeah, I guess, yeah, I got lucky.”
Liu made a par and Sung had a bogey, hitting her third over the green and past Kim’s second.
“I really didn’t have high expectations,” Kim said. “Just really tried to play my game. Didn’t try to force anything. Just trying to I guess go with the flow. I’m still speechless that it’s kind of done already and I got the job done.”
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