17 Apr 2023 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour - Kim wins, Drewitt in near miss

by Tony Webeck

Grace Kim, Brett Drewitt image
Grace Kim and Brett Drewitt were stand-outs over the weekend. Photos: Getty

Grace Kim’s LPGA breakthrough was the only Aussie victory but runner-up finishes by Brett Drewitt and Kevin Yuan will both have significant ramifications for the season ahead. In just the third start of her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, Kim called upon all of her winning experience to conjure two closing birdies at the Lotte Championship and claw her way into a three-person playoff. The 22-year-old Epson Tour graduate nearly holed her chip shot at the first playoff hole and buried the birdie putt right in the heart, giving Australia its first LPGA Tour winner since Minjee Lee won last year’s US Women’s Open. Her win guarantees Kim a place in the field for Lee’s US Women’s Open defence at Pebble Beach. It is Kim’s first win since her victory at the IOA Golf Classic on the Epson Tour last year and credited her experience on the secondary tour in 2022 for how she handled the pressure of the final three holes in Hawaii. “I’ve learned a lot through the Epson Tour last year,” said Kim, who finished fifth on the Epson Tour moneylist to earn promotion to the LPGA Tour. “Just being in contention every week, week in, week out, you know, living out of a suitcase, being just on tour life, I guess hit reality for me. “Kind of just the taste tester of what life on the LPGA Tour is like. “I would say it was probably the least nerve-wracking playoff I’ve ever had and I’m quite surprised at that myself. “Yes, I was nervous over the putt, but was focused enough to block that out. “Having that year on the Epson Tour, even though I missed final stage the year before, was the greatest plan for me.” Drewitt is on course to play his way back onto the PGA TOUR in 2024 despite a disappointing final day at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Veritex Bank Championship in Texas. A five-stroke leader at the start of play, when Drewitt made his second bogey of the day at the par-5 10th he found himself two strokes behind and in a tie for third. He bounced back admirably with birdies at 12 and 13 to rejoin Spencer Levin at the top of the leaderboard, the pair tied at 19-under par as Drewitt stood on the 17th tee. As Levin made birdie at the par-5 18th in the group ahead, Drewitt dropped a shot on 17. A sudden reinstatement of a two-shot deficit meant that Drewitt needed to eagle the 72nd hole to force a playoff. After missing the green left with his second shot, Drewitt’s chip brushed past the side of the hole and rolled out to 12 feet. He showed tremendous resilience to convert that birdie putt and secure outright second, one stroke back of Levin. It is the 32-year-old’s fourth top-five finish from seven starts this season and is projected to move him up to second on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List, the top 25 at season’s end to earn a PGA TOUR card. Another Aussie to enhance their standing on a world Order of Merit was New South Welshman Kevin Yuan. Closing in on a career-high world ranking, Yuan shot 68 in the final round of the International Series Vietnam and narrowly missed a birdie opportunity on the final hole that would have forced a playoff with Zimbabwean champion Kieran Vincent. “I gave it my all out there today,” said Yuan, who is now sixth on the International Series Order of Merit. “Left a few shots out there today and a few shots out there this week, but I’m happy with where my game is and the progression that it’s on. “It was an awesome round by Kieran and a huge win for him, congrats to him. But overall, I’m pretty satisfied with how my tournament went and looking for more good things to come.” The result continued a remarkable run of form by the up-and-coming golfer from Sydney, who has made the cut in all eight events on the Asian Tour this season. His result in Vietnam improved upon his previous best finish, which was fifth place at the International Series Thailand last month. Hunter Valley product Dylan Perry was in contention all week at the Japan Golf Tour’s Kansai Open but faded to finish tied for 15th while Cam Davis banked $US607,500 ($A906,241) for his tie for seventh at the RBC Heritage on the PGA TOUR. Results Asian Tour International Series Vietnam KN Golf Links, Vietnam 1 Kieran Vincent 67-65-71-66—269 $US360,000 T2 Kevin Yuan 67-69-66-68—270 $173,000 T13 Travis Smyth 72-66-70-66—274 $28,966.67 T13 Todd Sinnott 70-67-69-68—274 $28,966.67 T16 Doug Klein 66-70-69-70—275 $22,100 T27 Zach Murray 68-71-71-66—276 $16,600 T56 John Lyras 69-69-71-72—281 $7,100 T61 Andrew Dodt 68-72-69-73—282 $6,500 T68 Nick Voke (NZ) 69-71-70-74—284 $5,100 MC Tom Power Horan 69-73—142 MC Jack Murdoch 69-74—143 MC Marcus Fraser 70-73—143 MC Wade Ormsby 72-72—144 MC Scott Hend 72-72—144 MC Jack Thompson 71-74—145 MC Ben Campbell (NZ) 70-76—146 MC Terry Pilkadaris 72-75—147 MC Harrison Gilbert-Wong 72-76—148 PGA TOUR RBC Heritage Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 1 Matt Fitzpatrick 66-70-63-68—267 $US3.6m Won on the third hole of sudden death playoff T7 Cam Davis 70-67-66-68—271 $607,500 T31 Adam Scott 69-68-68-72—277 $107,400 T63 Lucas Herbert 72-67-71-74—284 $43,400 MC Min Woo Lee 71-70—141 WD Ryan Fox LPGA Tour Lotte Championship Hoakalei Country Club, Ewa Beach, Oahu, Hawaii 1 Grace Kim 71-67-70-68—276 $US300,000 Won on the first hole of sudden death playoff T19 Karis Davidson 75-71-70-69—285 $22,854 T38 Sarah Kemp 74-69-73-72—288 $9,576 T38 Stephanie Kyriacou 70-73-72-73—288 $9,576 T61 Su Oh 74-70-75-72—291 $4,804 MC Sarah Jane Smith 77-71—148 Korn Ferry Tour Veritex Bank Championship Texas Rangers Golf Club, Arlington, Texas 1 Spencer Levin 66-68-67-63—264 $US180,000 2 Brett Drewitt 64-66-65-70—265 $90,000 T30 Curtis Luck 72-67-66-69—274 T46 Rhein Gibson 69-68-73-66—276 T68 Dimi Papadatos 66-69-76-69—280 MC Steven Bowditch 75-79—154 Japan Golf Tour Kansai Open Golf Championship Izumigaoka Country Club, Osaka 1 Taika Simikawa 69-67-64-67—267 ¥16m T12 Brad Kennedy 69-67-71-70—277 ¥1.616m T15 Dylan Perry 65-69-70-74—278 ¥1.336m T44 Brendan Jones 68-70-74-73—285 ¥288,000 MC Andrew Evans 71-73—144 PGA TOUR Canada PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament USA West 2 Soboba Springs GC, San Jacinto, California 1 Charlie Reiter 70-70-64-69—273 T13 Cory Crawford 70-70-72-69—281 T21 Grant Booth 72-74-70-68—284 T74 Alexander Bottrell (a) 74-75-72-74—295 T81 Jerry Song (NZ) 76-72-73-75—296

Join our newsletter

Get weekly updates on news, golf tips and access to partner promotions.

Related News

Golf Australia NEW LOGO White Mono_logo
Join our newsletter

Get weekly updates on news, golf tips and access to partner promotions!