22 Sep 2022 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Kim closing in on LPGA Tour card

by Australian Golf Media

Grace Kim.

By Tony Webeck

It was within her grasp with one round to play on Sunday and now Grace Kim has a further shot to finally confirm her promotion to the LPGA Tour in 2023.

Two strokes from the lead through two rounds, Kim could have advanced her position on the Epson Tour’s Race to the Card standings and wrapped up one of 10 LPGA Tour cards with a Sunday flourish. However, three dropped shots in her final two holes resulted in a fall to a share of 13th.

Fourth in the standings and with just three events left in the season, Kim’s status as an LPGA Tour player next year is all but guaranteed but she can remove all doubt with another strong showing at this week’s Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout in Arkansas.

The 21-year-old spent time with coach Khan Pullen shortly after her breakthrough win at the IOA Golf Classic in May and the pair set a plan. A plan not only for the rest of the season but what she will need to compete with the LPGA elite in the years to come.

But Pullen first urged Kim to set her sights not on simply squeezing inside the Epson Tour top 10 but dominating the competition.

“I suggested that she needed to lift her goals a bit higher,” Pullen revealed.

“Top 10 is really not a goal that is setting the bar high enough for her. She’s good enough to have won two or three times and go close to winning the moneylist.

“She’s performing consistently well now with those four other top 10s and she would have had a couple more if not for a couple of poor finishes to a couple of other tournaments.”

Pullen is reluctant to look too far ahead but acknowledges there is work to be done in the off-season to make Kim LPGA-competitive from the get-go.

He would like to see a sharper short game and more consistency with the flatstick but above all is a need for more length… and the body mass necessary to make that happen.

At her heaviest Kim has topped out at around 60 kilograms and 18 months of non-stop tournament golf has led to further weight loss, and a date with the gym at season’s end.

“She’s never going to dominate a golf course with length. It’s just not going to happen,” Pullen conceded.

“She’s never going to be in the top 10 in driving distance but she’s kind of down in the bottom 20 per cent. If she could crack it into the top 40 or 50 (per cent) in driving length without having a massive sacrifice to her accuracy, that’s only going to be good.

“You’ve got to do it safely and in a way that they don’t risk an injury by smashing themselves in the gym and changing their body shape.

“She’s not going to get 15 yards just like that but if she could get 15 yards – 20 yards would be awesome – over the next three years, that would get us up somewhere near Minjee Lee length.”

Gabriela Ruffels (13th) and Robyn Choi (14th) can also force their way into the top 10 ion the Epson Tour in the coming weeks while Sarah Jane Smith (29th) likely needs a win to earn her place back on the LPGA Tour.

Elsewhere this week Adam Scott and Cam Davis will represent the International team at the Presidents Cup, 10 Aussies will tee it up in the Asian Tour’s Yeangder TPC tournament and four Australians are in the field for the DP World Tour’s Cazoo Open de France.

Round 1 tee times AEST

Presidents Cup Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina Day 1 Matches From 3.05am Friday

Day 2 Matches From 1.35am Saturday

Day 3 Matches From 9.12pm Saturday

Day 4 Matches From 2.02am Monday

TV schedule

Friday 2.30am Opening Ceremony on Fox Sports 505 3am-10am Live Day 1 coverage on Fox Sports 505

Saturday 1.30am-10am Live Day 2 coverage on Fox Sports 505 9pm-8am Live Day 3 coverage on Fox Sports 505

Monday 2am-10am Live Day 4 coverage on Fox Sports 505

DP World Tour Cazoo Open de France Le Golf National, Paris, France 4.10pm*             Ryan Fox, Thorbjørn Olesen, Romain Langasque 5pm*    Zach Murray, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, Niklas Lemke 8.50pm*             Scott Hend, Jonathan Caldwell, Stephen Gallacher 9.40pm*             Jason Scrivener, Wilco Nienaber, Graeme Storm 10pm    Maverick Antcliff, Joachim B. Hansen, Julian Suri

Defending champion: Nicolas Colsaerts Past Aussie winners: Greg Norman (1980), Robert Allenby (1996) Top Aussie prediction: Jason Scrivener TV schedule: Live 9.30pm-2.30am Thursday, Friday; Live 9.30pm-2am Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 503.

Champions Tour Pure Insurance Championship Pebble Beach Golf Links, Monterey Peninsula, California Australasians in the field: Steven Alker (NZ), Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Mark Hensby, David McKenzie, Rod Pampling, John Senden

Defending champion: KJ Choi Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Mark Hensby TV schedule: 2pm-3pm Saturday; Live 5am-8am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503.

Japan Golf Tour Panasonic Open Ono Toyo Golf Club, Hyogo 8.45am*             Adam Bland, Yuta Kinoshita, Komei Oda 8.55am Brendan Jones, Andrew Evans, Tomohiro Ishizaka 9.25am*             Matthew Griffin, Kazuma Jinichiro, Yousuke Tsukada 12.30pm             Brad Kennedy, Tatsuya Kodai, Keiichiro Fukahori 12.40pm             Michael Hendry (NZ), Tomoyasu Sugiyama, Yudai Furukawa 1.20pm*             Anthony Quayle, Kunihiro Uei, Yuta Uetake

Defending champion: Keita Nakajima Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Brad Kennedy

Asian Tour Yeangder TPC Linkou International Golf and Country Club, Chinese Taipei 9.55am George Worrall, Sumin Yu, Manu Gandas 9.55am*             Kevin Yuan, Ryoto Furuya, M Dharma 10.15am*           Jake Higginbottom, Chiang Chen-chih, Huang Kuan-hsun 10.25am             Scott Strange, Tseng Fu-tung, Lien Lu-sen 1.40pm*             Ben Eccles, Wen Cheng-hsiang, Danny Masrin 2pm*    Daniel Fox, Tseng Tzu-hsuan, Wang Wei-hsuan 2.20pm*             Sam Brazel, Danthai Boonma, Kevin Phelan 2.30pm Travis Smyth, Lu Wei-chih, Sarit Suwannarut 2.30pm*             Jack Munro, Shen Wei-cheng, Woohyun Kim 2.40pm*             Cory Crawford, Lai Wei-lun, Siddikur Rahman

Defending champion: Chang Yi-keun (2019) Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Travis Smyth

LPGA Tour Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers, Arkansas Australasians in the field: Lydia Ko (NZ), Minjee Lee, Su Oh, Sarah Kemp, Stephanie Kyriacou, Karis Davidson

Defending champion: Nasa Hataoka Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Minjee Lee TV schedule: Live 1.30am-4.30am Saturday on Fox Sports 506; Live 2am-5am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503.

Challenge Tour Swiss Challenge Golf Saint Apollinaire, Folgensbourg, France 9.30pm*             Blake Windred, Robin Dawson, Marc Keller 10.20pm             Daniel Hillier (NZ), Javier Sainz, Jeong weon Ko

Defending champion: Marcus Helligkilde Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Blake Windred

Epson Tour Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout Mystic Creek Golf Club, El Dorado, Arkansas Australasians in the field: Grace Kim, Gabriela Ruffels, Robyn Choi, Sarah Jame Smith, Amelia Garvey (NZ), Hira Naveed, Soo Jin Lee, Emily Mahar

Defending champion: Kum-Kang Park Past Aussie winners: Hannah Green (2017) Top Aussie prediction: Grace Kim

Ladies European Tour KPMG Women’s Irish Open Dromoland Castle, Ireland 9.25pm Whitney Hillier, Sofie Bringner, Anne-Lise Caudal

Defending champion: Catriona Matthew (2012) Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Whitney Hillier TV schedule: 8.30am-10am Friday; 8am-10am Saturday; Live 12.10am-2am Sunday; 8am-10am Monday on Fox Sports 503.

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